Monday, December 22, 2008

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum :dark & light with LX3

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum (BTRTM) is no longer just an imposing building of faith, but also became a popular tourist attraction of Singapore. Visitors from around the globe trot to this temple to catch a glimpse of the Buddha Tooth Relic as well as the grandeur of architecture and religious artefacts. In this temple, one would not feel the rowdiness seen in some temples. On the contrary, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum emanates a sense of tranquility along with the soft resonating Buddhist chants, if there isn't a grand ritual going on. While some temples restrict the use of cameras within temple premises and also forbades photography of religious artefacts and idols, BTRTM embraces the art of photography. The temple believes that the beauty of Buddhism should be appreciated not only as a faith but alsol as an art, especially with the widespread popularity of digital photography. BTRTM also organizes photography competitions to promote the art of Buddhism.

Though I had never participated in any of the photography competitions organized by the temple, BTRTM is one of my favourite location to do indoor photography, simply because I have a strong affinity to this temple and love Buddhism art. I have made many Buddhism-related posts based on this temple. I had only recently made a post on the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Musuem, shot with the Panasonic LUMIX-LX3 (left image) here. However, I just could not stop making pictures from this beautiful temple. After all, I have been taking in this temple since its soft opening in 2007. Here are more pictures of BTRTM shot exclusively from the Panasonic LUMIX-LX3 handheld.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
: dark & light with LX3
This series exhibits the capability of the Panasonic LUMIX-LX3 to shoot in dark and light scenes where strong contrast is easily corrected in post-processing. Once again, this series is shot hand-held without tripod.

百龙宝殿 (第一层)
Hall of a Hundred Dragons (Level1)
The Hall of a Hundred Dragons is where the 100 Buddhas and Maitreya Buddha resides. Read more about the Hall of a Hundred Dragons and Hall of Maitreya Buddha here.
This hall is undoubtedly my favourite part of the temple for making pictures. I love every bit of details in every piece of each Buddha idol. I have previously shared pictures of this hall
here and here. The lighting is also a challenge to capture a good picture, but nothing too hard with an optically-stabilized VR lens. However, I prefer using the Panasonic LUMIX-LX3. In this series, I have used a default WB setting which gave a nasty color reproduction, which I had to correct in post-processing.

毗卢遮那大光明经咒转经轮藏 (屋顶)
Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel (Roof)

The roof of the temple is the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas which houses the Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel. Turning a prayer wheel has the same significance as diligently reading and chanting the scriptures; this is for the benefit of the illiterate.
In the pagoda, the illumination is very low and the space is small, making it hard to take pictures inside. However, it is no challenge for the LX3's good noise control, fast aperture and wide angle. The orchid garden surrounding the pagoda provides excellent opportunity to try out some close-up (not macro) shots. The strong contrast of the sky and the underside of the roof might seem bad for pictures, but by exposing for the sky, the details in the shadows can still be faithfully restored through post-processing.

百龙宝殿 - 弥勒佛正殿堂 (第一层, 从夹层楼)
Hall of a Hundred Dragons & Maitreya Hall (Level 1, view from Mezzanine)

The grandeur of the main hall can be appreciated from the Mezzanine. Shown here is a day when the temple is preparing for an upcoming ritual.
Only with a small camera and a wide angle lens like that of an LX3, taking a shot of the whole Level 1 hall from the Mezzanine is no sweat.

地藏王菩萨 与 南海观音自在观音 (夹层楼)
Kshitigarbha Hall - Ancestral Memorial Hall and Southern Sea Freedom Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva - Dharma Hall (Mezzanine)

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva idol resides in the Mezzanine before the Ancestral Memorial Hall is complete. The Southern Sea Freedom Avalokitesvara is another manifestation of the Cintâmanicakra Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, resides in the Dharma Hall.
The halls at the Mezzanine are illuminated with strong contrast spotlights. Luckily the details can be easily restored from the shadows to re-create a balanced picture in post-processing.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum

Photography by William Tan
©William Tan 2008

Shot exclusively handheld from the legendary Panasonic Lumix-LX3.

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