WEEKLY SPOTTER FEATURE
10 Questions With SIN WEN HAO
(OCT 25th 2020)
Welcome to “10 Questions With”, a weekly segment on APP's website showcasing aviation spotters & enthusiasts based in Singapore. The concept and motivation behind this project is to bring the community together, and to shine a light on all the different spotters here on our sunny island, raising awareness of our hobby in Singapore and to provide a chance for all spotters to be seen both locally & internationally.
Today, we speak to Wen Hao, a friend and local Singaporean spotter we have had the pleasure to know over the years. Wen Hao is a photographer with an eye for detail and creativity, using both Instagram and Jetphotos as his main channels.
1: A quick self intro, name, where are you from, and what do you do?
Greetings, I am Sin Wen Hao. I am born and raised locally in this tiny red dot. Currently, I am pursuing a diploma in Logistics Operations & Management (LOM) in Temasek Polytechnic (TP).
My first experience with a camera was when I was ten years old after my dad let me have a hands-on with our old Canon point and shoot family camera, which cultivated my interest in photography. At that time, I also developed an interest in aviation, and I loved admiring aircraft images photographed by other aviation enthusiasts. In 2015, I thought to myself, “Why not combine both interests and venture into aviation photography?”. With that, I officially started my journey in aviation photography and had not look back since.
Before 2015, there were occasions where I had attempted this genre of photography when I was at the airport, but it was usually for a short while. I am into both commercial and military aviation photography, but I tend to place my focus on the commercial side. Apart from aviation photography, I also do other forms of photography such as bus, ship, urban and street photography.
You can view my aviation photography journey on Instagram @the_aviation_enthusiasts and urban and street photography @helloitsswh.
2: What sparked your interest in aviation?
Being an inquisitive person since young, I loved watching documentaries to find answers and build up my general knowledge. Therefore, it is of no surprise that my interest in aviation was sparked by watching aviation-related documentaries.
Aviation documentaries like ‘Air Crash Investigations’ (ACI) piqued my curiosity on wanting to learn more about the technicalities and avionics involve that make an aircraft fly. ACI re-enacts actual air crashes and provides a detailed recount of what actually happened prior as well as during the crash. Similarly, I became intrigued about airport and airline operations after watching documentaries like ‘Ultimate Airport Dubai’ and ‘Inside Singapore Airlines’. These series helped me understand more about the roles each stakeholder within an airport or airline play to ensure everything is functioning smoothly.
My interest also came from my visits to Changi Airport’s terminal viewing mall and Changi beach. Whenever my parents visited the Airport, I would always yearn to go to the viewing mall to watch aircraft movements. During those short visits, I remember being so mesmerised by the aircraft taxiing and pushing back at the viewing mall. Similarly, when I was at the beach, I would get all excited when I saw an aircraft on finals.
This interest of mine is reinforced at where I stay as well. My current housing location lies under the RSAF flight training path; hence I am always rewarded with an impressive flying display during their training sessions.
3: Your current camera setup?
I am currently using a Canon 70D with an EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM and EFS 18-135mm kit lens.
4: Your favorite Airline and aircraft is?
My favourite Airline is Singapore Airlines (SQ). What I love about SQ is their striking classic livery and their consistency in service. My favourite aircraft type is the Airbus A340-500. The Airbus A345 has the most elegance among the 340 family.
5: NAME Your favorite spotting location in the world ?
The idea of a ‘perfect’ spotting location is non-existent. Every country’s Airport has its unique photo angle opportunities and aviation traffic not seen in Singapore. Each country is also subjected to its own spotting constraints. For instance, Singapore has a very strict security stance. Despite all these constraints, I think what is important is how we as photographers learn how to adapt and make the best out of what we get.
If I have to choose, it has to be either Vancouver International Airport (YVR) or Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC). The vast mountainous landscape surrounding both of these Airports provide a picturesque background for shooting, something which Singapore cannot offer. However, I have never personally been to either of this place for aviation photography. I only managed to discover about the unique angles both airports offered through photographs posted on social media and aviation websites by fellow aviation photographers. One of the aviation photographers is none other than @ onemoreweektogo
6: Window, Middle or Aisle Seat?
7: Looking back, any tips or advice you would give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to study harder and make friends with the right people.
8: Of all your images, which is your favorite photo and tell us why this is your star shot?
My favourite aviation image would have to be the wing view of my Thai A359 flight from Bangkok (BKK) to Singapore (SIN) in 2016. The shot was taken during sunset while cruising over the gulf of Thailand into Malaysia. I remembered it was meal service, and I decided to take one last glimpse of the beautiful sunset before indulging in my food. I was in awe at what was presented Infront of me. The warm colours from the setting sun combine with the cool colours of the night sky created a magical scene. I knew this moment would not last long and quickly took pictures. Minutes after, the sun disappeared, and the sky turned blue.
9 :Any interesting stories or memories from your aviation experiences?
My favourite memory of aviation photography in Singapore has to be of South Cross taxiway or Changi Coastal road.
South cross taxiway was an excellent location for aviation photography because of its proximity to the aircraft. There are two taxiway bridges, South cross 1 and 2, and a pedestrian bridge parallel to the taxiway at the location. The purpose of the bridge is to connect the north and south side of the airport together. From 2016 onwards, the location was designated as a no photography zone which marked the end of shooting there.
Prior to 2017, Changi Coastal road was the go-to place for departures. The 6 km Coastal road stretches parallel to the departure runway of 20C/02C. From the location we stood, there was not much zoom required to photograph the departures. Despite there being trees blocking, we were still able to photograph most departures with minimal obstruction. In 2017, the road was closed to make way for Changi’s third runway and a new Changi Coastal road was opened. That marked the end to this photography location.
10: If there is one thing that sets you apart from the next spotter, what would it be?
I think what sets me apart from others is my desire to challenge the impossible. Most of us tend not to venture out for photography in challenging conditions like at night or when conditions are not ideal. I used to be like that too. However, I was motivated to try after seeing my friend’s ability to turn a dull or noisy photo into something magical.
With the right photography technique and editing skill, a dull or noisy photo can be salvaged and turned into a beautiful masterpiece. Challenging conditions also provides a whole new variety of photo opportunities. For instance, a cloudy overcast day can aid in creating a dramatic photo backdrop.
For most aviation enthusiasts, their sense of satisfaction comes from capturing a rare subject. But, for me, it’s when I manage to savage a lousy photo and turn it into a masterpiece.
That's all for this week's edition of our Spotter Feature. Do check out Wen Hao's profile on his various platforms , and stay tuned for our next feature with Mr Bryan Quek!