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Photo of the Week: October 19, 2012

Michael Clemmer

Editor's note: Welcome to  Yahoo! Travel Photo of the Week, chosen from the Flickr group created by our readers – you! Each week a professional photographer will select a photo that stands out from the crowd, and explain why they chose it. To have your own photo considered, join our Flickr group and start submitting your own photos!

On the night of the first full moon after the Autumnal Equinox (September 28, 2012), Charlie Kwan went to Singapore's Chinatown and, shooting from the exterior stairwell of an adjacent building, captured this week’s Yahoo! Travel Photo Of The Week.

Using a Nikon D3s and a Nikkor 14-24mm ultra wide-angle lens, Kwan put serious thought and planning into the execution of this image.  A professional event and corporate photographer, he also enjoys capturing Singapore’s nighttime cityscapes. This time his subject was the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. Modeled on the architecture of the Tang Dynasty (cr. 618–907), its construction was completed in 2007.

What makes this image a winner? The planning and expertise: One might imagine this wasn’t Kwan’s first visit to the temple, he probably went there earlier, on a scouting mission, where he noticed the exterior stairwell of the tall building adjacent to his subject. He mounted those stairs, climbing until he reached just the right height and from there, he noted the direction he would be shooting and the backdrop of beautiful modern skyscrapers.  He pondered the time of sunset and how long twilight would last; he knew there was a waxing moon and with luck, when it became full, it would rise during twilight.

As we’ve noted before, luck is only one of the factors that make an excellent photograph.  Kwan planned and hoped for good luck, but he knew how to capture his subject when the right moment arrived. His camera, the Nikon D3s, introduced in 2009, captures images with a sensor that has 12.1 megapixels. An unintended consequence of such fine resolution is images can be too sharp. Most high-end DSLR’s actually have a filter in their sensor that slightly blurs images to avoid fine detail causing a moiré effect. The tiles of the temple roof would be a place where moiré might happen.

Thank you Charlie Kwan for being our guide and showing us the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and a magical Singapore night.

Alabama-based Michael Clemmer has been a photojournalist/travel photographer, landscape and golf course photographer for over four decades. Once a Senior Travel Photographer for Southern Living Magazine, he has also worked as an assignment photographer for the National Geographic Society and his photographs have been used in fine publications around the world. He currently specializes in golf landscape photography — visit his web site at