Copying What Others Have Already Photographed Versus Finding Your Own Unique Perspective

Copying What Others Have Already Photographed Versus Finding Your Own Unique Perspective

Whether it’s in my local city (Singapore) or travel destinations, I use online resources like Flickr to scout potential cityscape shooting spots. You might think that those spots are rather “over-photographed” or what I’m doing is simply “copying what others have already photographed”, but I’m quite happy with this approach because those spots are over-photographed for reasons (i.e. offering the best cityscape views).

The opposite of “copying what others have already photographed” is “finding my own unique perspective” (i.e. finding never- or rarely-photographed spots), but this is getting harder these days, as there aren’t many hidden gems left to be uncovered, especially in a small city like Singapore.

Unique Perspective Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Better Perspective

Furthermore, I’ve come to know that unique perspective doesn’t necessarily mean better perspective. A few years ago, I got a little sick of repeatedly shooting at the same few favourite spots of mine (namely Singapore CBD and Bay East, as seen below), so spent sometime searching for new cityscape shooting spots by walking around the city a lot (not just “virtual-walking” on Google Maps!).

Singapore Skyline from Esplanade
Marina Bay, Singapore

First photo: Singapore Skyline shot from CBD area. 18mm, f/4, 341 seconds (with 10 stop ND filter attached), ISO 100, shot 10 minutes before the end of dusk.
Second photo: Marina Bay (Singapore) shot from Bay East area. 18mm, f/13, 142 seconds (with 6 stop ND filter attached), ISO 100, shot 5 minutes before the end of dusk.

After extensively exploring, I was able to find a few lesser-known spots, but when I took photos at those places, I wasn’t too convinced with the results. For example, the photo below was shot from a location that isn’t known by many (a footpath along an expressway), but I just don’t think this view is even half as good as that of Singapore CBD posted above.

Singapore Skyline from Benjamin Sheares Bridge

After all, it’s not unique perspective that is important to me. Unique perspective means nothing if the view is mediocre. What matters more personally is capturing the most beautiful cityscapes, no matter how over-photographed those spots are.

The Reason I’m Posting “Similar Photos” Again and Again

So, I eventually ended up going back to my over-photographed favourites (i.e. Singapore CBD and Bay East), trying to capture the best version of my beloved places by revisiting over and over again.

If you’re a regular visitor to this website or my Tumblr , you may have thought “This guy is always taking the same photos!”, but those aren’t same photos (!) and now you know why I’m posting “similar photos” again and again.

Where to Find Unique Perspective

The only real unique perspective today could only be found at high floor residential apartments, offices or hotel rooms. Cityscapes shot from those publicly-inaccessible places are definitely unique (and potentially great because top hotels are typically located in prime locations).

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