Year of the Rooster – Treading the Streets of Chinatown!

Hey everyone!

To all our Chinese readers, we wish everyone a happy Lunar New Year! Indeed this year is the Year of the Rooster (following the Chinese Zodiac), and as you might have guessed, we headed down to the one location that epitomises the Chinese culture: Chinatown!

Chinatown (or 牛车水, referencing carts filled with water which was lugged around by bulls in the past) has been the location for our photography adventures many times (during last year’s Chinese New Year celebrations and the Mooncake Festival in 2015 and 2016), and this year it really is no different! The hustle-and-bustle of the locale makes it a challenging exercise in capturing the festivity as it happens. Nevertheless, we had a new gear in the Petzval 58mm Bokeh Art Lens that would surely enhance our experience and bring some variety to our photos.

Note: Because this entry combines the photography of two different digital cameras (i.e one with the Petzval Lens and one without), we should point out that the Petzval Lens creates a distortion effect which evens out in the center. That should help our newer readers with identifying which photos were taken with the Petzval lens!

Along Chinatown’s open-air food court!
It will not be an unfamiliar sight to see fathers holding up their young kids as they amble down the street!
Such was the immense crowd; this is really understating the sea of people browsing the pop-up shops!
Chinese decorations such as lanterns, paper cuttings (with the ever-present word “福” meaning happiness) and door couplets are a staple in many Chinese households during the Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year… with Santa?!
We observed that this housing flat could provide a marvelous vantage point…
… and we weren’t wrong!


Close-up, the Sri Mariamman Temple (around since 1872) remains an iconic landmark in the middle of Chinatown.
With the Petzval lens’ ability to use different aperture plates, we acquired a unique, homemade set of brass aperture plates with different shapes! Here, Twitter users will recognise the bokeh shape as the iconic blue Twitter bird.
An over-head shot of the crowded streets!
Aperture plate with hearts (our favourite, definitely!)


More lanterns and hanging decorations (including the Rooster).
A common delicacy which is indulged in for Chinese New Year, sunflower seeds are sold en masse!
Apart from the traditional Chinese New Year food, many pop-up shops featured unique food. Believe it or not, these are colourful meringues stored in LIQUID NITROGEN!
See all that smoke???
As Damian illustrates, it is meant to be broken when put into the mouth, so as to be able to blow out the cold smoke!
Lighted lanterns and blossoms line the street.
We used some unique aperture plates: this one is in the shape of a pair of lips!
A rather fitting aperture plate being used as Sandra uses the Canon DSLR 500D!
More heart bokeh! Who can’t resist?


Woof! A dog-shaped aperture plate made our night!
Nearing the end of our Chinatown trip, people were still jostling about, soaking in the sights and sounds! No doubt it will be even more crowded during the actual festive period!

Once again, Chinatown continues to mesmerise us with its effervescent lights, lively atmosphere and unique treats to sample. With the Petzval lens adding some creative flair to our photos, we can’t help but anticipate using it in the night where there are bright lights! For us, we will be busy visiting relatives and collecting ang baos; once again we wish all a prosperous and blissful Lunar Near Year!

Till next time,



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