Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Christmas Eve, Central, Hong Kong

I shot the picture during my outing on Christmas eve (that's last night), wandering around after our Christmas dinner, watching the bright and colorful Christmas lights, and feeling the excitement of the patrons to the crowded carnival fair. The colorful lights from the carnival was particularly attractive at this vantage point and I couldn't help but stopped and pulled out the camera to take this picture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

After the fireworks

Victoria Harbor, Looking from Kowloon side

While we love fireworks, we never looked beyond the glamours of the few seconds of the life of a firework.  What really happened is we send a huge blob of explosive into mid-air and let it explode in a pre-designed sequence to reveal the layers of colors when the different chemicals were ignited.  Other than the bright colors, they were the same as bombs - period.  What happens after a bomb exploded is huge plumes of smoke and awfully pungent smell.  But we all looked beyond that.
This was what really happened after 20 minutes of continuous fireworks.  It took over an hour for the smoke and whatever residual to dissipate.  But of course, by the look of this picture, it wasn't looking so bad either.....

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A classic case study in composition

This picture was taken with a phone, so excuse the focus error.  I would not hesitate to use this picture as a classic demonstration in composition.  The face of the dog is symmetrical along the diagonal from top left to bottom right, the light colored mat is square to the frame, even the pattern is matching.  The hing leg give a break to the otherwise too structured composition, making this a good study in composition.

A Sunday afternoon

Life ground to a leisurely pace on this Sunday afternoon, here at a local loading dock.  This was supposed to be a cargo loading/unloading area but every weekend it was turned into a place of leisure because of the unobstructed panorama of the harbor.

Everybody found his/her own way of enjoying the breathtaking vista - one won't notice it until when this was taken away from them -- not that it's going to happen anytime soon, "I'm just saying...", so to speak.

Life at High Street

There's something special about High Street, people just like to wander ON the street, rather than along the side walk. What's happening here in this picture is pretty normal, especially in this hour of the day when traffic is light.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A mundane ordinary everyday picture

Sometimes we should take pictures of our mundane life just to record it, so that when things changed, we have a record of the past.  And sometimes mundane pictures may not be uninteresting to your audience -- it really depends.  Like this picture, it's a very "everyday" scene in our place but for people who don't live in a hilly city like ours, the picture would at first cast confusion.... until you realize that this was taken on a street going steeply downhills.....

The SuperMoon

Okay, everyone has his/her own take of the supermoon, so here's mine.  I took it right out of my window when the moon was rising. I could not miss it, it's such a majestic sight -- a big bright orange blob amongst the highrise buildings.  I was lucky that the path ran through the gap between the buildings, and I could get part of the instantly recognizable building in the frame, bringing some location reference to the scene Or put it in other words, I wasn't compositing the picture. In fact, taking the picture was more a personal thing than sharing a rare sighting. I didn't plan the shooting, but when I saw the scene, I knew that I have to take it.  It took me all 2 minutes to put together the necessary gears and started shooting, before the moon rose too high and out of the context.  I shot several frames, and went to the computer to start processing the image -- there simply isn't enough dynamic range to have to moon with the "real" color while revealing some of the "adjacent" buildings.  Fortunately with some tweaks, I was able to post the picture around 7:00pm, just a few minutes after taking the shot.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A casual walk on Feb 16

The splash of colors at Aberdeen Street
I swear I didn't arrange this picture. This is an area I frequent a lot, for its vibrant colors and ever changing attitude.  They have this wall painted orange and yellow, which is pretty common, but I remembered I took a B/W rendition of this very same wall, and I thought it would be interesting to have the two pictures compared side by side.  Then came this old woman, dressed in this very uncommon (for her age) bright color with matching sneakers, limping along with her crane!! This is an upward slope, and she was struggling.  This was pure fluke that I had the composition all made up and she just walked into the picture.  And then at this very moment, the red car just passed by, covering the supposedly grey pavement with yet another swap of matching color!!

The decaying door

Children's playground??

Children's playground 2

My favorite spot

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Just an ordinary couple in the subway

In the subway
I like the sparkle in her eyes.  Nothing really special, but there's always something to look for in the ordinary, mundane, banal daily life....

Street Performer in Wanchai, Hong Kong

Street Performer
A singer in the midst of her serious performance -- looked like she's onto something...... until you see her microphone in her hand......

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Kyoto, Japan, December.

Kyoto, Japan
I guess the picture sums up Kyoto in December pretty well.
If not, maybe these...

Bydoin Temple

Gion, Kyoto

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Admiralty, Hong Kong

In Between

Li River at 6:30AM

Li River at 6:30AM
We arrived at this destination by boat.  We were told that we're going to take a boat for some pictures, and silly us thought that there'll be no use for a tripod on a boat!  Yes, that was right, but we were actually bused here with a 10 minutes boat trip, and landed at the edge of the river on solid ground with no tripod!!
This picture was made-do with camera on a boulder, a 30 seconds exposure in this almost complete darkness before dawn.  I could see nothing out of the viewfinder (of a DSLR), and there was no live-view (I wonder if live-view would help).  Anyway, I figured instead of sitting here waiting for the first light, I rather do something, and this is the "something".

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hebe Heaven, from the air

Hebe Heaven, from the air
Aerial photography on the cheap!! This is taken from a commercial flight, upon approaching Hong Kong airport, from Dubai, with a consumer one-for-all camera.  Nothing fancy, just a lot of attention from the cockpit window. I never realize this place is so beautiful from above.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Under the Triple Bridges, Ljubliana

Day & night

These two pictures were taken in two different days, although not many hours away.  I was in the area, attending a mini-concert in the palace in the evening.  When I passed by the pond and the statue, the setting sun was in its perfect hue, but I had only my phone with me.  Fortunately my phone camera was one of the better ones, and I was able to carefully control the exposure to my liking.  Then next morning, I passed by the same place to see the palace, not only the concert.  I had the picture from the previous evening on my phone, and I came up with this idea of shooting the same scene at completely different time of the day.  I took a look at the picture on my phone, and just tried capturing another one at the exact same angle.  I must admit I fluke out this time, the vantage is exactly the same (for such casual and hurried shots), and they came out quite interesting......
Inside the Schonbrunn Palace
At night

Inside the Schonbrunn Palace

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Evening at the harbor

Steveston Harbor, Richmond, BC, Canada
It was way past sunset, the place was already very dim, but I was still able to manage a picture with so much "light" on the stray logs jammed on the beach. I didn't realize that I was able to recoup so much from the shadow until I was working on the file at home.  This was 2010, from a now ancient camera.
This is why I love photography -- this is a picture I am very unlikely to take again -- I stumbled upon this place at a most unlikely time, chances that I would go to that same place at a similar time of the day is... very unlikely, unless I took all the trouble to make the trip.... I'm now 6000KM away from this place.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sunset in color versus B/W

Sunset in color

Sunset in B/W

In the last post, I commented that "the picture won't work in color".
Here I have two exactly same picture -- one processed in B/W and the other in it's original color (yes, I post processed, so the colors aren't original).
Which one works better? -- I guess it really depends on preference....
I'm still debating..... no answer for myself yet.  Maybe I should work harder on processing the B/W file, there're so much to handle......

The figure at High Street

In the middle of traffic
This picture won't work in color -- there were too much colors in the scene, and they were very distracting......  Scroll down and see the other picture of High Street.... Taken moments after this....

Same location, two different pictures

APS-C camera

Phone camera
Two pictures at the same location.
The top picture taken with an aps-c sensor camera, as can be seen with a much shallower depth of field at F2.0.  I used the much whiter florescent light from the shop on the left to emphasize on the yellowish street light, and putting it in focus to create the dreamy effect of the street at night.
The bottom picture taken with the only thing I had with me -- the phone.  It's not a slouch, it's the Nokia 1520.  I composed, out of my memory, with the same viewpoint of my previous picture, but I had no control over the exposure parameters, but there isn't much point anyway. However, I post-process this file much more heavy-handedly than the previous one.
The bottom line.... I believe either picture has its own appeal, and I like them both. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Wave Abstract

Wave Abstract
This was a forgotten picture when I first curate my hundreds of pictures from a Hawaii trip which was for a family event last year.  My focus was on the family event and thus the pictures selected were reflections of the event.  Lately I remembered I took a series of wave pictures over a 10 minutes slot when I left my family aside, immersing myself (figuratively only) in the tumultuous waves.  So I went digging into my archives............

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The cat at High Street

A cat crossing the street
I pass by this spot everyday, and I've taken pictures of High Street from this vantage point many times, usually in the afternoon when the sun is shining through the street, illuminating, in a dreamy way, this sometimes quiet street which is amongst the oldest in the city.  Yesterday I was "walking my camera", and as usual, stopping and snapping away, waiting for interesting things unfold along the street.  Man, there was so much happening I could be here all day!! And the sun was also playful too, playing hide and seek, and changing the mood, sometimes with an overcast, leaving the reflections off the roof of the cars standing out from the dim pavement.  Other times, it shone a spotlight onto a few spots like in this picture, leaving me the only one excited, hoping to have the right thing happening, and then this!!!  When I spotted the cat rushing from the right to the left, I really have time for only 2 snaps.  Continuous shooting wasn't my forte, I always shoot single frame at a time.  I'm happy with my shutter finger instinct, and caught the cat action in high time. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

At the pier on a Sunday afternoon (2)

At the pier (3)
Seriously, this picture was taken at the pier on a Sunday afternoon, and I didn't have a clus as to what these ladies were doing.  But this was a public pier and everybody was free to use the pier, so I wasn't snooping on a private activity.  This is true street photography...........

Third Street -- cropped

Third Street in the afternoon sun
I had great trouble with the cropping of this picture, and this is the 3rd iteration. I settle on this because:
It is square, and
It has the most prominent things I want in the picture.
That's also my problem with the 16M pixel cameras -- I may not be able to have so much room with cropping, compare to the 24M pixel cameras, but of course that's BS, 'cos I use to work with 12M pixel cameras...........

At the pier on a Sunday afternoon

At the pier
Sometimes I wonder, what is street photography?  People are lamenting that street photography, for many, equals pictures of homeless people in black and white. And of course there are proponents of "do not take pictures of the homeless anymore......"
Does this picture belong to the genre of street photography?  What I'm trying to do here is to record the absurd scenery of a bunch of people gathering here at a loading dock trying to take pictures of reflections off the puddle of rainwater that had not yet dried up.  While I would not dismiss any legitimate activity which bring people out of their house and enjoy themselves, people are getting to ridiculous places to "take photographs".  Maybe in an over-crowed city like ours, we just need to do something different, which turns out to be different for the sake of being different, and as posting on Facebook and Instagram spread, the different thing becomes a not-so-different thing altogether. 
Here's another picture:
At the Pier (2)
OK, why were you there?  I was walking the dog, and I always had my camera with me when I walk the dog.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Rockies from the air (2)

The Rockies 2

The Rockies from the air

The Rockies
Some pictures are meant to be printed and viewed -- the computer screen just wouldn't do the picture justice.  I think this picture would be much more enjoyable in print.  The subtle tonal variations have to be carefully managed in print in order for the viewers to fully appreciate the undulating ridges that is part of the Rockies.