Thian Hock Keng, the "Temple of Heavenly Happiness" is the oldest Hokkien Chinese temple in Singapore. It was built from 1839-42 and dedicated to Ma Zu, the Chinese goddess of the sea. Sailors would seek her advice before embarking on voyages because of the widely held belief that she could predict the weather.

On the morning I produced this short film, I could have used Ma Zu to predict the weather conditions for my shoot. I awoke early, planning on utilizing the morning light. So much for planning in tropical Singapore. On the way to the location, the sky opened up and I suddenly found myself in the middle of a torrential downpour. Instead of instructing my taxi driver to turn around and head back to the flat, I decided to take this opportunity to document a most tranquil setting despite the rain. And because there were no tourists getting in my way due to the cloudburst, I ended up capturing a rare and unique moment at Thian Hock Keng.

While filming some of this gorgeous Singapore history, suddenly I heard the steady cadence of a ringing bell in the distance coming from somewhere within the temple grounds. Following the sound, I came upon an old woman who was praying to the spirit of her deceased husband. She was with her daughter and her Buddhist monk. I did not want to disturb this spiritual moment so I unobtrusively documented it from behind a pillar with my zoom lens. After they were finished I asked her daughter if I could take a photo of her mother for my film. They both agreed. I believe this closeup shot of the old woman is one of the most emotional images in the film. I hope you enjoy this DSLR short.

Produced by Macomber Productions
DP/Editor: Rick Macomber

Shot with the Canon 550D, T2i
Tamaron 17-50mm f2.8 lens
Edited on FCP
Soundtrack by Eri Sugai, "First Love"

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