Picture perfect

Alex Tan’s time-lapse photos and videos put viewers in the middle of landscapes around the world.

From South Korean streetscapes and Hawaiian sunrises to Bermuda beaches and Toronto skylines, Alex Tan manages to reflect the mood of the environs with his creative and technical photography skills.

Tan got his first exposure to the art form that would eventually become part of his everyday life at 17. “My high-school photography club had a darkroom, single-lens reflex cameras and a passionate art teacher,” he says from his Toronto office at Softchoice, where he is senior financial analyst. “The idea of creating something from scratch, from composing a shot to developing a photo by using the right chemicals in the right order, and the artistic journey it takes you on, was very rewarding.”

Now, when he isn’t fulfilling daily responsibilities for operating expense-related planning, forecasting and budgeting for Softchoice, which helps organizations use technology to boost their success, Tan captures moments in time around the world.

His time-lapse photography goes one step beyond his landscapes to make viewers feel as though they are on-site watching scenes unfold.

He achieved that quite effectively on a 2014 Caribbean cruise where the viewer is taken from white sand beaches to shops, waterfalls, poolside on the ship and passengers’ views from all angles. “Making those, I might shoot at 20 or more locations,” he says. “I’ve shot a two-hour time-lapse sunset that translated into 10 seconds of video.”

Professionally, he has done weddings, small events and, most recently, portraits.

So how does he manage to find all this time to spend behind the lens? “It really is a matter of making use of your free time,” he says. “I’m an accountant before a photographer so I have to plan photography activities for after work, weekends, vacations and slower seasons.”

Combining these two callings gives Tan the opportunity to engage both his practical and imaginative aptitudes. “I am constantly growing and developing my accounting career. I also want to build my artistic community presence to perhaps create a second source of income with my photography. However,” he says, “I believe I would continue doing photography even if it failed to generate a dime!”