FOR the next couple of weeks, up to Chap Goh Mei, which marks the end of the Chinese New Year, there will be a lot of photography opportunities to capture unique Chinese traditions in the country.

Chinese families will dress in their best traditional outfits for the new year, while temples will be decorated with beautiful ornaments and lights. There will be lion and dragon dance performances at business outlets, malls and shops. If you love human-interest and cultural type of photography, this is the best time to indulge in them. Visit temples in your area, find out the lion dance schedules and get your cameras ready.

Below are some tips on what to shoot and getting the best festive shots.


1. PLAYING WITH SHADOWS

Thean Hou Temple in Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur is the most photographed temple during Chinese New Year due to its hundreds of lantern decorations. If you go there at noon, take some shots from a high angle. The lanterns will cast nice round shadows on the ground. I used a 50mm lens for this shot to focus on the subject and avoid other images from being in the frame.

2. UNIQUE MOMENT

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is the oldest Taoist temple in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. During this Chinese New Year, many people offer prayers to deities. When taking photos at a temple, look for a unique moment, like rays of lights and people’s actions. In this photo. the rays of lights can be seen clearly with the help of the burning joss sticks. I used a wide angle lens to capture this mystical image of the people and the temple.

3. ALTERNATIVE VIEW

Think out of the box and you may get some unique shots. For this photo, I was literally inside the lion’s head as I wanted the lion dancer’s view. I used a fisheye lens because of space constraint.

4. ANG PAU

The practice of giving ang pau or red packets is centuries-old and they are given by married couples to children, teenagers and unmarried adults. For this shot, I used a wide angle lens, which enabled me to capture the scene and decorations.

5. LION DANCE

How do you get steady shots of a fast-moving lion dance? Just set the camera to continuous auto focus and focus area modes. Set your shutter release on continuous high-speed and it will enable you to capture the action.

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