Top places to shoot the sunrise and sunset in Singapore

SINGAPORE - Shutterbugs have embraced a pandemic pastime: Chasing sunrises and sunsets.

Capturing the dreamy colours of dawn and dusk has an evergreen appeal. But some have found that Covid-19 curbs sparked a fresh enthusiasm for the positive vibes of such photography.

Events manager Andrew Tan, 42, began hiking more when travel restrictions kicked in last year at the start of the pandemic.

As more people took to exercising outdoors during and after the circuit breaker, he observes many of them also started taking snaps of nature.

"Other people chase typhoons, I chase sunsets. It provides a channel to deal with stress and manage mental well-being," he says.

Staring into the sunset makes him feel "more at peace and more positive", he says.

Professional photographer Lee Lay Na, 52, saw her income decline as social distancing measures reduced the number of conferences, concerts and other events she used to take photographs for.

She was initially downcast, but taking pictures of the sunrise every day helped her cope. "It's something good that came from the bad," she says.

Posting these "wow moments" on social media lets her "share more happiness with others" during the pandemic, she adds.

Here are some popular places for sunset and sunrise photography, including rising stars such as the Ulu Sembawang Park Connector, which hold their own against scenic classics like Changi Beach.

1. Sunrise at Ulu Sembawang Park Connector

The morning mist adds to the allure of the park connector in Mandai, which links the Woodlands (SLE) Park Connector to the Manda. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

2. Sunset at Raffles Marina Lighthouse

Shades of pink and mauve lend a romantic aura to the lighthouse located on the breakwater at Raffles Marina club, overlooking the Tuas Second Link. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

3. Sunrise at Lower Seletar Reservoir Park

Sun and moon share the sky at the park, which is bookended by Yishun Avenue 1 and Lentor Avenue. PHOTO: LEE LAY NA

4. Sunset at Seletar Fishing Village

Bare trees add drama at the fishing village located at the junction of Yishun Avenue 1 and Seletar North Link. The jetty and other areas in the village are out of bounds to the public. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

5. Sunrise at Yishun Dam

The machinery seen at the dam makes for a brooding sunrise. PHOTO: LEE LAY NA

6. Sunset at Punggol Waterway Park

The dome-shaped structure at the Jewel Bridge in the park is beautifully mirrored in the water amid the last golden gasps of the sun. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

7. Sunrise at Sembawang Park

The beach provides solitude at the park in Sembawang Road, despite the signs of industrialisation on the horizon. PHOTO: LEE LAY NA

6 tips for shooting the sunrise and sunset

Photographers from The Straits Times share tips on how to get the best sunrise and sunset shots.

1. Check the weather forecast

While rain is obviously to be avoided, cloudy weather is far from optimal too.

"Go during periods of hot weather. For instance, if it rained the day before, it will usually be cloudy in the morning, obscuring the sunrise," says ST executive photojournalist Chong Jun Liang.

2. Allow enough time

Reach the location at least 30 minutes before sunrise to capture the transition from dawn to morning light, advises Mr Chong.

ST photographer Jason Quah agrees: "It's better to go earlier to scout the location as the sunset duration can be quite short."

Sunset at a shoreline near Seletar Fishing Village on Aug 18, 2021. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

3. Stay for the blue hour

Mr Quah says: "It's good to stay for the blue hour. The skies turn a pleasing shade of blue which, coupled with the conclusion of the sunset, makes for atmospheric and dramatic photos."

The blue hour refers to the darker stages after sunset - as well as before sunrise - when the sun is far below the horizon and the sky is a deep blue colour.

4. Give a sense of place

Mr Quah says: "Don't take a picture of a sunset or sunrise in and of itself. Try to include some context to give a sense of place. This makes for a more interesting photo."

Consider including any landmarks or other details, such as a uniquely structured bridge. Having people in the foreground will also give a sense of scale.

5. Don't stress about your camera

Most recent models of mobile phone cameras do a perfectly fine job, says ST photojournalist Gavin Foo.

"These phones actually do a good job of computational imaging, or automatically enhancing your pictures, to make them look great," he says.

Sunrise at Ulu Sembawang Park Connector on Aug 16, 2021. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

6. Experiment with different tools

Mr Foo says: "Any camera that has a high dynamic range (HDR) function is good too, as the sky is usually much brighter than the foreground."

HDR imaging helps capture details in scenes with high contrast. In older cameras, the dark areas of a photo would be too dark to make out fine details, while the bright areas would be overexposed.

He adds: "A wide-angle lens may be needed to capture a vast, sweeping portion of the scene. A telephoto lens can be used to isolate objects, to have a picture with fewer distracting elements."

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