Thaipusam is one of the major religious event in Singapore. According to Wikipedia:
“On Thaipusam day, hundreds of devotees offer prayers either by piercing their body with spikes and lemon, pulling a chariot or carrying Kavadis from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple. The devotees then offer their prayers and fulfill their vows. The Vel (holy spear) in the sanctum is showered with milk continuously for hours. Several Chinese devotees and people of other religion and races also come to fulfill their vows on this day.”[Wikipedia]
Thanks to a local a local photography forum, Clubsnap, I managed to gather a few tips on shooting the event.
Thaipusam normally starts in the wee hours, stretching all the way to the next evening. The “Golden hour” for photographers will be the first 6 hours. This means shooting at the temple from 12 midnight all the way till 6am in the morning.
Anyone entering the temple are to remove their footwear and leave it on the poach outside. General advice is to wear slippers or something light that you can stuff into your camera bag.
No flash photography as this might distract the devotees who are in a trance. This means bringing a fast lens and a camera with high ISO capabilities.
With all these considerations in mind, I decide to bring my Fujifilm Xpro-1 with a 35mm 1.4, lightweight, fast lens and extremely capable at high ISO settings. The Xpro-1 being small and light, allows me to hand hold the camera over head and under the devotees for a different angle for many of the shots shown below. A heavier camera would have tire me out faster.