The point of wedding photography

Here’s a great article about the point of wedding photography. A lot of people miss the point. Almasy articulates this very well.

But you know why I REALLY do what I do?

To photograph your parents, who will hold hands and cry on the first row of the chapel. To photograph your sister dancing with that boy she will marry in three years. To photograph those kids who will grow up so, so quickly. To photograph your grandfather, who will pass away next spring. To photograph your first kiss as a married couple, your best friend busting out her signature dance moves, the flower girl asleep under a table, and maybe even your ex looking pretty wistful as he hugs you a little too long in the receiving line.

You already know: your cake will disappear in less than an hour, your flowers will wilt before the ceremony ends, and that uncomfortable tux will go back to the rental place in the morning. But those photos… they’re gonna be there forever. You’ll have them when your own kids are born, when you have the biggest fight ever with your partner and need to be reminded of how much you really love each other, when your parents pass away and you realize the last time you danced with them was at your wedding…

So, nothing against the wedding magazines and blogs and their endless, passionate quest for “perfect” detail shots. PLEASE: throw the party of your lives with every. single. detail. EXACTLY as you dreamed it would be.

But my job — MY job — is to see past all that. My job is to give you photos that will remind you why you had that damn expensive party in the first place.

Anne Almasy for Huffington Post

42 Days of UI – Day 3


Left: Original; Right: Replica

Months ago, I came across WTHR on some UI sharing community and paid for it immediately just because it is so pretty. Elegant and subtle with whimsical animations – the ‘scale’ swings behind the coral red needle like an actual old-school weighing scale. For a few days, I loaded the app just to see it swing.

Shadows and glows are used a lot in this design for a mock real look. I spent the most time making the fan-shaped scale and perfecting the icons (because they are ‘outline’ and I needed to get the correct thickness). Didn’t manage to get the exact colour – I didn’t eyedrop it. I think he was actually going for an old, yellowish effect but all very subtle. Don’t know what font he used so I did a mix of Futura (in the forecast bar) and Frutiger Light (“Rainy and 29˚”). Ya, sunny is not working for Singapore right now. It’s been pouring all day.

The Fahrenheit and Celcius toggle was quick. It was a very fuss free switch compared to the attention to detail paid to the rest of the app.

42 Days of UI – Day 2

This is probably the prettiest airport app I’ve seen. It’s not popular convention to make your landing page navigation only, because you want your users to be able to dive in to the core of your app. Despite, this app broke the rule and made it cool. The navigation is simple but interesting and the UI has some fine finishing touches, if you look closely. The original:


The replica:


I couldn’t replicate some details in the icon, like how the sharp point of the back caret flattens gracefully. Also, I’m not sure what the first tab icon represents and didn’t want to make an icon that I won’t reuse later (read: lazy) so I made a more generic one.

There are a few permutations to doing the tabs on the flight card. The OCD in me chose to make it whole card by card (the white portion: content area and tab to form an inverted ‘L’) but I think you can just make rectangular tabs only. The dividers are likely just pencil lines.

An additional note on the plane icon. I made it using shapes and adjusting the individual points rather than pen trace the original. It turned out surprisingly accurate in proportion.

What ‘standing your ground’ is

Standing your ground is fighting for what you believe. It is conviction, and the courage to follow through. It is not settling. It is improving, even though being good does not bring success.

Standing your ground is cutting the bullshit, doing right by you and having a conscience. It’s. A lost cause but knowing you can’t live it down if you don’t fight this war.

It’s the one regret I don’t want to have. The epitaph thing we all think about at some point in life. I want it to say,

Here lies Val. She stood her ground.


Sigh. Today was one of those days.

42 Days of UI – Day 1

42 Days of UI - Day 1

For some months now, I’ve been a “UX designer” but a very unusual one in that I only do IA and wireframes. A UX designer is expected to do UX and coding or UX and UI. So it’s like I’m half a person.

In 42 Days of UI, I’m going to progress towards being a whole person who does UX and UI. And I’m going to start by replicating existing designs to ground myself technically. 42 because that’s the meaning of life.

For Day 1, I’ve replicated a screen from Dcovery. Photo borrowed from my friend, Daniel’s, Flickr photostream.

The most challenging part of this screen is the slightly curled up effect in the middle of the title. I’m still trying to wrap my head around masking (for the whitish spotlight in the area of ‘local time’); I keep forgetting how to do that. Other than that, I made my own version of the “Attractions” icon because I didn’t get the representation with the original.

Life of Pi (the book)

The first Mr. Kumar had expressed the wish to see the zoo. “All these years and I’ve never seen it. It’s so close by, too. Will you show it to me?” he asked.

“Yes, of course,” I replied. “It would be an honour.”

We agreed to meet at the main gate the next day after school.

I worried all that day. I scolded myself, “You fool! Why did you say the main gate? At any time there will be a crowd of people there. Have you forgotten how plain he looks? You’ll never recognize him!” If I walked by him without seeing him he would be hurt. He would think I had changed my mind and didn’t want to be seen with a poor Muslim baker. He would leave without saying a word. He wouldn’t be angry–he would accept my claims that it was the sun in my eyes–but he wouldn’t want to come to the zoo any more.

And so Pi stood rubbing his eyes repeatedly in an effort to spot him better, and fending off distractions in the form of friends and strangers asking him troublesome questions.

“I am here, Piscine.”

My hands froze over my eyes. That voice. Strange in a familiar way, familiar in a strange way. I felt a smile welling up in me.

This part of the book made me want to cry and laugh at the same time.

My favourite character so far is the poor Muslim baker. I can see him in my mind. I imagine the sort of self-conscious silence he carries himself with, a determined unobtrusiveness, afraid to impose. The kind that the average person would mistake for vacancy, and dismiss. (I fancy that is the reason Martel specifically described him as “difficult to recognize”.) And then at times, abruptly, he pulls himself up with a boldness and quiet strength in speech.

A person you pity at first, feel this impulse to protect and defend, and then in one swift blow, humbles and awes you. And you feel shame for your arrogance in ever thinking you were in a position to “protect” him.

It forever changes the dynamics of how you interact with the world at large. Who is weak and who is strong. The helper and the helped. Almost like how this word “help” is so discriminatory. (For some time now, I haven’t been able to use this word in a serious context without cringing.)

Why would Martel make the poor Muslim baker and the polio-stricken teacher share the same name?

He also deliberately confused the accounts of the two Kumars feeding carrot to the zebra. I at first attributed the second account to the poor Muslim baker because “He wasn’t so demanding of the zebra.” – quickly allowing the zebra to enjoy the full piece of the carrot, instead of denying it for a bit in the first account. But there is gentleness in both accounts, both in their own way. Though I can’t figure out for sure which is the gentleness that belongs to the baker.

How to (really) be a better person


A few days ago, I turned 25.

I guess a quarter of a century old is a milestone of sorts. Last year, I wrote an ambitious promise to myself that before this birthday, I would be (or at least making plans to be) travelling as a way of life. …yeah. My finances are not looking that healthy.

A part of me says that I should jump in. Because anything that’s stopping you from pursuing what you really want to do is just a bad excuse. But even if we should live like we’ll die tomorrow, we must surely leave enough to survive another day.

Besides, travel is overrated. Do you get that feeling sometimes? That travel is a self-interested peacocking of access and excess to feign uncommon sophistication, standing apart. Puffed up with quasi-intellectual rationalizations of how crucial it is to growth and an open mind. As if people who are not privileged to travel are doomed to be petty and ignorant.

I do love travelling. I wish I would stop using “growth” as an excuse to travel. I’ll be honest and say I love the variety. It is human nature to love the new and interesting.

But all change that happens to you while traveling is mostly idealized. It is easy to be “better” when you’re in an environment that constantly surprises you. It is difficult to remain upbeat in a mundane setting that pisses the fuck out of you. It’s hard to admit this. But while the unknown shows you who you can be, the mundane brings out who you are. And if you can’t better yourself in the mundane, don’t expect the effects of the unknown to last.

One day, though, I want to make LTST (long-term slow travel) happen. Until then, my immediate environment is still catalyst for improvement.

The Life of Pi

Before reading any Life of Pi deconstructions, I’m just going to try to organize the story’s meaning to me.

First of all, I think the point is not to question which story is the one that really happened. The question was asked explicitly to throw the audience off. And then, to me, the story is really an allegory of our contemplation of God.

People want to believe in the fantastical story of God, and as they vacillate between this incredulity and the overwhelming desire for this to be true, they also get a lot of help along the way, in the form of proof (but our senses have been known to be unreliable) and elaborate, plausible narratives.

When we rationalize the existence to others, we reconstruct that private fantastical story into realism. And then find that it’s easier to persuade with the fantastical.

But both are not true. They are projections of our desire to make meaningful life’s caprice, situations that we cannot control or understand—our desire to demonstrate sanity in an insane world.

Sigur Ros, Fort Canning Singapore 2012

A complete otherworldly experience. The psychedelic lights, the whimsical moving screen and the ethereal sounds. And the most defining moment of the night – rain at the encore, that stopped when the music stopped. Even the skies conspired.


The kind of sublime reaction Sigur Ros inspired:



ImageAn intimate moment of post-Sigur Ros bliss (that i sincerely apologize for intruding on, but it was really beautiful). It made my heart smile.


Takk-takk Sigur Ros!