Brunei Darussalam


This Chinese New Year 2010, I captured no photos of Lion dance performances unlike previous years where I would drop by the school for the Lion awakening ceremony. And unlike previous years where I would celebrate the new year with my parents and extended family members on the first day. This year, however, my wife and I decided to join over 200 travellers from Brunei and Malaysia to usher in the Year of the Tiger in Taiwan. Our flight took off as early 4 AM (no chance to sleep after reunion dinner) and the first light of the new dawn was this magnificent light. Other than visiting my in-laws, I visited no one this year as I’ve been swamped with back to back work since returning from Kuala Lumpur then Taiwan then [gasping for air] …very recently, 3 intense days of Japanese Cuisine shoot. From reunion dinner to Chap Goh Mei dinner, 15 days of celebration comes to a close and whisked up at a blink of an eye. In continuing the tradition of the Ending The Night With a Bang series here are shots from last night. This time I set up two remote flashes, one hanging off the basketball board ring and another on a light stand to the right.


I was originally very ambitious when it came to the fire crackers. We used to light two long strings of them previously but this year I really wanted to light two combined sets of 3,000 fire crackers simultaneously until I realised the fuse was way too short to pull this off successfully so we abandoned this year for safety reasons (made a mental note to inspect the goods during purchase next year).


The white dot on the top right corner is in fact the full moon. We had waited for the clouds to clear before we ignited the fuse. I made sure the moon was part of the story for a stronger composition although its size wasn’t significant compared to the flare from the two flashes.

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At this height, the pole we used cannot fully accommodate the long string of 3,000 closely packed fire crackers.



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Cleaning up the mess we created. What took seconds to burn left a mess of debris that took a good 5 to 10 minutes to clean up. It’s the same with photography—assignments that may take a whole day to shoot more often than not take several days or weeks to post process. Check out the mess from previous BANGS.


Brunei Darussalam


So on this day of Chap Goh Mei, the 15th and last day of Chinese New Year, we celebrated the morning with a lion dance at the primary school my kids attend. The remaining daylight hours were spent at home with the kids killing time before dinner at my in-laws, a 1+ hour commute. Right after a hearty dinner, another 1+ hour drive back home and my son Jamie went straight to bed. Jewel on the other hand was adamant about finishing the night off lighting up the night sky and burning off whatever’s left in our arsenal.

Here’s one of a number of  explosive momenta at the SHIM residence earlier tonight. I shot this on the EOS 5D and an ultrawide EF17-40mm to get the brightly lit moon in the frame and had positioned myself too close for comfort where I was peppered with firecracker debris and my face protected only by the camera—the risks we photographers put ourselves in to produce art—not forgetting to mention, potential hearing loss! (what’s that ringing noise?)

firecrackersbang.jpg© Jan Shim Photography

I shot a series of this composition @ ISO1600 1/100 f/4 in my attempts to capture the moon, the flying bits of paper, the explosive flare, the smoke while balancing available light from the gate and a hint of the red lantern all in one scene.

Other Chinese New Year links