Jess Li Photography

Alright, I did it. I set up a business email account, and I’m going to venture into professional photography. I don’t think I’ve properly introduced myself- I’m a scientist, in Singapore. You know, with the lab coat and frazzled hair and everything. Immunobiology has a certain allure, yes. But I’ve also always loved drawing and photography, and sometimes a little crafting too. Funnily enough, it was during graduate school that I really stuck my head deeper into these things, simply because they made me happy, whilst research sometimes most certainly did not (seriously, when your experiments have failed for the umpteenth time and you don’t see how your work would ever help mankind in any way, you question a lot of things).

autumn in cambridge, U.K.

Autumn in Cambridge, U.K., taken with my first basic Olympus digital camera

I got my first camera in 2007, but I only got my first higher-level camera in 2011. A little regretful that I didn’t have a better camera to capture the lovely sights in Cambridge (U.K.) and Europe during my undergraduate days, I got myself one that had a manual mode for adjusting various settings. Still a point-and-shoot though. So I ran around the east coast of U.S.A. with a Nikon Coolpix P300, which aged gracefully and finally broke when sand got in at the beach. I replaced it with a P310, which broke when someone accidentally knocked it off a box where it was perched to take timed group photos. I now gallivant around town with a Panasonic Lumix TZ57. Its lens aperture doesn’t open as wide as the Coolpixes’ did, but it’s still okay in low light and takes reasonable macro shots. I like it, particularly since it was only just over SGD300 and therefore very affordable.

monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly at a lake near Jiminy Peak, M.A., U.S.A, after a department retreat. Taken with my trusty Coolpix P300, and the first time I realised how awesome it is to be able to manually adjust camera settings

But my first real, good camera is the one I’m using now, the Sony SLT A57. For the technical amongst you, you’d already know that this isn’t a DSLR per se. It uses a different internal mechanism- whilst DSLRs involve a mirror flipping around (thus digital single lens reflex), the mirror in SLTs is translucent, and doesn’t flip around when you press the shutter (thus single lens translucent). This one was a gift from a relative, and when I started using it, it was a whole new world. The exact same composition, with the SLT, looks incomparably better and more professional. I’m actually glad that I’d spent years practicing with point-and-shoots how to frame and compose shots, as well as learning what types of colour tones look good in different situations, before graduating to an SLT. This way, I know that the actual content of my photos hold up, rather than me simply being enamoured by the quality of the camera’s images.

pink roses

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the difference in quality an SLT makes

So this is an announcement of sorts, I guess. I’ve carried a camera around with me, daily, for years, and I know that this is something I actually enjoy. There’s always something new to photograph, and new memories to capture. And as with any art, always room for creativity and improvement.

I’ll keep this post updated when I’ve got my portfolio and page up and running, hopefully by this weekend. But I won’t get ahead of myself- for now, we’ll take it one step at a time.

Edit: got my Facebook page up!


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