As the sun sets over Singapore, a group of men and women with cameras can be seen by the entrance toMacRitchie Reservoir Park in the heart of Singapore’s Bishan District. Across a beautiful, suspended bridge along the treetops, on shaded walking paths replete with animal encounters, or in kayaks across the pristine lake, dozens of photography enthusiasts are coming together to take and share shots. Participants say the outdoor social excursions are Covid-Restriction compliant, safe, good for the health, and a welcome break from months and months of being inside and staring at computer and tv screens. They are a photo club that has been meeting weekly for the last half a year.
Philipp Kindt is on the younger side for the group, at just 26, many are hobbyists in their 40s and 50s. Also a photographer by hobby, initially, he decided to take up a new venture during the pandemic when he lost significant hours at the retail sports clothing he had been with for more than two years. “I really felt like I was in trouble for a bit, but through it all, I kept on taking photos and learned a lot about editing. One day a friend asked me to take photos for an event his company was putting on, and that they would pay me for the trouble. A new chapter opened for me, but I always return to nature photography, landscapes, animals.”
Philipp and others meet once a week at the eastern gate to the park, about an hour before sunset, and discuss routes, and what they hope to capture. Just after sunset, they meet back at the gate, and compare notes and photos. Often they head to a local patio bar to sit and talk over a beer afterwards.
Atlas Bergenoff is another photographer with the group. He will be 82 years old in December. His wife Johanna of 53 years passed away from Covid early in the pandemic.They had moved to Singapore from Switzerland for his work as a managing partner of an investment firm more than two decades ago. He was already retired before the pandemic and had returned to his old hobby of photography. He bought two vintage film cameras he found online and enjoyed fixing them and even added a small darkroom in his house. More recently he bought his first digital camera and some in the group have been teaching him how to view and edit the photos on his computer. Atlas says the photo group has been a great activity to get him out of the house and socializing with other people. “The people in Singapore have always been so kind, and I’m so grateful for this amazing group of talented young people. I treasure these walks around the park with my new friends.”
With covid restrictions in Singapore tightening again, the group is committed to doing everything they can to continue their excursions and be compliant and safe. They hope to grow and encourage others to take part. Several discussed the idea of one day doing an exhibit at the park for all Singaporeans to come experience and enjoy.