Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Winning Moment

The Winning Moment
Canon Photomarathon Singapore XIV 2016
19 November 2016
Suntec City Convention Center

I am Lim, Mark Anthony Pamintuan, 27 years old, Filipino, currently working as a Nurse in one of the hospitals here in Singapore. Aside from being a professional Nurse, I am also a Travel Photographer/Blogger. My fascination in photography started back when I was in my senior year at the university.

Personal Background
The Journalism club organized a photo contest for students. I was a bit hesitant that time because practically I did not have any background in photography; moreover, I didn’t own a DSLR or even a smartphone that time. Despite these constraints I still tried my luck and signed up for the competition. Photography has always been a marvel for me. (2010)

The biggest challenge was to think of the best subject for my entry.
I candidly took a photo of an endearing canine with lush green trees as its backdrop. It didn’t really occur to me how painstaking it was to choose the right subject. Luck must have been on my side, because I won my very first competition. I placed 3rd in the environment category. It was quite an experience.

After graduating from the university and passing the board examinations in July 2010, I have had the opportunity to travel abroad with my brother. He is currently working here in Singapore as a registered nurse.

My brother introduced me to one of his good friends who happens to be a professional photographer. I was so astonished that time because he was so accommodating enough to lend me his camera – a Sony DSLR. He even taught me some of the basics of camera control.

That was officially my first time to get a hold of an actual DSLR. I didn’t know how to operate the camera. He was patient enough to help me out and asked me to take photos for him to check out while we were touring. I showed him some of my shots and was quite stunned because of the encouragement I got from him. He told me that I had potential.

With enough reassurance from my first mentor I started to do my homework and really learned on my own. I started modestly by using the digital camera of my brother and my smartphone. I always make time to study and learn by checking out books about photography and tutorials from the internet.
My stay in Singapore gave me a lot of opportunities to take photos and relish the buzzing streets of the city and its famous tourist destinations.

My mentor taught me how to use watermarks in all of my works. I first started using - “mapl@rts”I literally took photos of all the things I could see during the tours. When I came back to the Philippines, I was more than driven to continue learning.

Back in the Philippines a good friend of mine referred me to join a photo club since I would really want to hone my skills further. I know that it was going to be a great prospect for me but I had second thoughts since I don’t own a camera, but if it was the only way to polish my skills I guess I had to take the chance.

I joined the Subic Bay Photography Society (SBPS), Philippines as a guest member. I was allowed to join their organized competitions for an entire year. Each month, the club sets a theme and the members of the club have to submit their entries.

I had really supportive friends, who lend me their DSLR cameras whenever I need to take photos for my entries. I submitted my first entry on one of the themes set by the club last March 2011 entitled “Market Places” Out of 12 competing members, I ranked last. Competing with highly experienced photographers made me realize that I had so much to learn and unlearn. I took everything as a challenge and as a learning experience for me. I definitely learned a lot from SBPS. My mentors in the club have taught me tips and efficiency techniques.

Having been acknowledged by the club for the very first time was indeed an accomplishment for me. On one of the themes set last April 2011 entitled – “Something with Wheels” I was fortunate enough to rank 2nd.

Despite personal constraints, I have always believed that nothing is impossible. Everything pays off if you put your mind and heart to it. I have received recognitions from the club on certain occasions. For the themes “Main Dish” “Waters” I got the top spot. I got the second spot for the theme “Wind” and became a finalist in two different themes – “Church” and “Friends” respectively.

Working full time as a nurse and pursuing my love for photography became quite a predicament for me. I had no other option but to become deskbound in the club’s activities. However, that did not stop me from exploring and learning new techniques. Whenever I have the chance, I borrow my friend’s DSLR and put those techniques to work.

I eventually got interested in travel photography and tried my best to attend local festivals in the Philippines. Having had the chance to witness the Masskara Festival in Bacolod, the Dinagyang Festival of Ilo-ilo and the Mango Festival in Zambales gave me more reasons to pursue travel photography.

Travelling was more than just visiting the splendor of the sites. Capturing it through the lens immortalizes the experience. These escapades gave me the chance to develop my skills about macros, capturing landscapes and trying long exposure techniques.

I tried to independently join national photo competitions when I have the chance to travel. Fortunately, my hard work paid off when my work acknowledged by the organizers of Dinagyang Festival 2014. Two of my photos was awarded as finalist and 9th Place.

It’s so amazing to witness these heartwarming festivities. The ecstatic drum beats in each festival will truly excite anyone. Rediscovering and capturing the rich culture of the various provinces that I have visited gives me pride.

I have always been grateful and relied on the kindness of other people. I have been capturing images and pursuing my passion for photography for the past four (4) years not owning a camera.
This for me is more than an accomplishment but a humbling experience. I finally received my very first DSLR camera (Canon 70D + 18-135mm kit) last September 2014. - Good things come to those who wait.

From that time I still give some time to learn more about advanced photography. I joined photo contests locally and internationally. Some of my photos were also featured in one of the famous newspaper spreads in the Philippines, the Manila Bulletin. November 2015 when I finally moved here in Singapore to work as a Nurse. 

I feel so happy every time I share my travel photos. I wanted everyone to make them feel that they are also in the scene where I captured the photo. I must say that this passion of mine is a fulfilling one. I never get tired in honing my talent and sharing those experiences to the people. I can attest that my dedication in my profession as a nurse is as resilient as my passion for photography. Even if there were bumps along the road, an individual’s effort, coupled with an undying desire to learn and succeed does pay off. I will not cease to learn and I will never be complacent to what I know now.

CPM Singapore XIV 2016 Experience
Photo credits to Canon Singapore

Its my 3rd time joining Canon Photomarathon, my first 2 was in the Philippines: Vigan 2011 and BGC Manila 2014. This is my first time here in Singapore region since I started working here last year (December 2015). I was so excited when CPMSG announced the final schedule of the competition and registered online quickly. The day before the competition, I prepared my gears (Canon 70d, Canon 10-18mm lens, Canon 50mm 1.8 lens and Canon 18-135mm lens) to be used and as well as myself. 


Before calling the day, I read Justin Mott’s article about how to win the photomarathon. I remember all of that and brought it in the competition. Every time I joined a photo competition, I always wanted to give my best. I wanted to share my talent to everybody. 


When the first theme was finally announced, I told myself of not rushing to go and take photos for the theme. I seated for awhile, took a pee (nervous) and conceptualized what I wanted for the theme “vision”. I know at that time that most of the people will literally submit an eye photo and decided not to have that kind of interpretation. I went to Singapore flyer, one of the icons here. I already pictured in my mind to have a Singapore flyer with the Marina Bay Sands and Central Business District in one photo. When I went there, I cannot find any spot to have that kind of idea. I sat again and rethink and told myself to give a try for an eye photo. At first I thought that I can take a photo of my own eye but it was really hard! (At least I tried). I saw some joggers in front of the Singapore flyer and approached one of them. I explained myself about what was going on and a woman finally agreed. Given that I don’t have any macro lens, I alternatively used a ring inverter so as for me to achieve what I wanted. It is very difficult at first because one, it’s very dark in the viewfinder, two, it takes a lot of time and work to adjust the settings of the camera as it is in my own control and three, it was very hot!


I am so nervous at that time. I don’t know why but maybe because I have the feeling of winning at least runner up. There’s a screen where we can sneak peek the submitted photos of the first theme. I patiently waited and I cannot find mine. I ask myself, “is it a hint?” then I just smiled and seated to prepare myself for the next round. The 2nd theme was then revealed and again, I didn’t told myself of rushing, instead I took a deep breath and conceptualized. The theme was very difficult for me because it can be interpreted in different ways. At first, I pictured in my mind a photo inside a temple with some people on it. I decided to make my way to Little India and tried to revisit one of the Hindu temples there. Unluckily, the temple was closed that day. I was disappointed at that time as I already have the photo in my mind that I wanted. I took a deep breath and rethink, walked around and took some photos around but I still cannot process my thought as I already conceptualized the photo. And the rain pours, sadly that I need to go back and thought of not passing an entry fro the 2nd theme. I walked beside the market where I can maintain myself dry and saw a stall with a smoke inside. At that time, I smell something good on it. Ting! A perfect photo comes into my mind! I cordially get permission to the uncle and told him about my purpose. He let me in, set up my gear and took the photo and finally decided to go back. OMG I literally smelled smoke after that!


I am already tired at that time, at first I wanted to queue up in the camera and lens cleaning section that was very long at that time but I told myself “I should take some rest for the final round”. I seated and took power nap. The 3rd theme was revealed and did my rituals again! Relax, think and compose! I have decided to go to Stadium. I always went there to take a good shot of the bridge connecting the Old Airport and the Stadium because the structure is very admiring one. The place is so nice and I pictured in my mind that the photo must have something on it! It was hard as no one passing by and what I did was creating the photo all by myself. Yeah! You’ve guess it right! I am the one running in the photo! I changed my shirt to normal one, positioned perfectly the camera on the ground, and switch on the timer! I tried many times running in lieu with the click sound of the camera. I got so many photos at that time and finally decided to do a last shot. Guess what? the last one was the best!

Finally done and submitted my last entry. In fact I did not take breakfast and lunch as I am too excited for the competition; maybe I am hungrier in winning the competition. I finally have my breakfast, lunch and dinner all in one! I patiently waited for the announcing of the winners. I don’t know why; I can’t explain myself at that time as I’m having hope of winning at least runner up in the competition. I am very cold and nervous upon announcing the winners of the Student category. And here comes the open category winner announcement for the first theme. 3rd… 2nd… they are very nice! And as I was looking at the screen, I saw my photo as the first prize for the first theme! I was very shocked and went to stage and received the prize.


I smiled as much as I can! I cannot contain my happiness at that time and wondering if it was really me. I asked myself when I went back to my seat “am I really the one that was called?” The announcement continued, 2nd theme and 3rd theme winners were announced. And the Best of show announcement finally comes. I was very shocked 10x when I saw the three photos that I took and read correctly my name under it. It was really me! I went to stage with my whole body shaking. I received the award, in shock, I felt like I’m dreaming that time of being the winner of the prestigious competition. 


I went home, brought my things down and lay down in my bed. I closed my eyes and call it the day and told myself “maybe this is only a dream”. The next day I woke up, saw the prizes still unopened on top of my cabinet, and told myself, “this is not a dream, it is true, that I am the winner of Canon Photomarathon Singapore XIV 2016!


VISION “To be able to see the real beauty, patience, effort and hard work are the keys to success”

KYOSEI “Never get tired of taking and looking for the best shot, it takes time and a lot of effort! Believe me!”

SPACE, #NOFILTER, #NEWPERSPECTIVE “With our own imagination, we can make things possible”


Other Photos:

Selfie before the competition starts

Selfie after receiving the first prize

Best of Show, Open Category Announcement

Photos with the Prizes


Thank you Canon Singapore!