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Showing posts from 2008

2009 is Here!

Dear all,Happy new year to you all!  We are already in 2009 in Hong Kong.  May we all take even better pictures and enjoy a greater life in the new year.Best,
Nevin

Windows to the Soul

(Keeping an Eye: This man in a suit, looking aimlessly into the distance, was heard having an animated argument over the cellphone on the footbridge as I walked past him. A footbridge in China can be a busy place to walk on because there are lots of selling and other activities on them. Some years ago, I was warned to be vigilant on a footbridge in China because thievery was more rampant up there. The warning has tested to be not really true.)
Some years ago, I read a story titled, "Compassion is in the Eyes" which is about Thomas Jefferson giving a horse ride to an old-timer. The old-timer thanked him for his help by saying something that Jefferson felt heart-warming, "I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were evident. I knew, then and there, that your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunit…

The-Without-Morals

(Rain and Tear: Late last night, the van I rode back home tore onto the road in the rain but at the red traffic light the driver still dutifully stopped the car, giving me a chance to take a shot of the medley of colours reflected on the windows full of raindrops. There was not enough light so I simply defocused the shot a bit)An OZ (Australian) friend of mine who took almost five years to travel around the world commented badly on China for its people. She was annoyed by the sly quality of the people she met during her China leg of the trip. Opinionated her comments might be, but there is some truth in it.
I have made regular trips to the Mainland China for some years. There are certainly good people I have met. But a large portion of the people can be summed up into two categories: the-without-morals and the-without-hopes.(Believe It or Better Not: Two youngsters with their hair dyed in golden colour are selling self-proclaimed medicine for skin problems. News about fake foodstuff an…

Soothsaying the GRD III, Again

The January issue of China's Popular Photography quotes the price for GRDII at RMB 3,500 and GX200 at RMB 3,200. I was around the Guangdong province in China during the last few days. The prices for the two cameras I saw in a big digitial store were RMB 3,980 and RMB 3,780 respectively.
So, the 30% price drop for GRD II is not just for Hong Kong. It is suspicious to me if the cut is to simply change tact on account of the economic downturn as told by the Ricoh distributor here. The prelude to GRD III has begun IMO. Ricoh is shedding the GRD II stock at a very low price. This is an unfortunate tactic, if my guess is right, because if I were a GRD user, I would be concerned about my future investment in Ricoh cameras. A 30% drop in value is a lot for a relatively expensive camera within such a short perio of time, not to mention the ever dropping price of the GX200 at least in this part of the world. In just six months, the GX200 is selling for around US$120 less here. Not a wise mov…

Reinforcing Your Holiday Mood

Nevin is probably coming back tonight. So, where have you been celebrating the Christmas holiday? Feeling a bit down to be back to work? Here are some more photos of the holiday in Hong Kong to reinforce your holiday mood.(Stop in the Name of Bus: Nathan Road, the lifeline of Kowloon Peninsula, was partially cordoned off from traffic during the holdiay at night when people were crowding the area near the Victoria Harbour for celebration)(The Mongkok Mob: I was amazed to see the street jampacked with people after a cup of coffee in Starbucks. For some seconds, I dared not walk to the crowd) (Great Shot or Not: The family was checking out photos on the camera) (Multitasking: Walk-checking photos is like drunk-driving a car. Both are dangerous thing to yourselves and other people)(Human Trafficking: Roads were turned into pedestrian precincts. There is something about this tiny city -- it has atmosphere!)(Look Alive: The dad was walking steps ahead of the mum holding the baby. Okay, tell…

Your Camera: Who Manufactures It Where?

Have you ever wondered who assemble your cameras where? If you are Canon, Nikon, Olympus or Fujifilm user, check this out. For Ricoh, Casio, Kodak and the now defunct KM brands, see here. (It seems that Ricoh cameras are predominately manufactured in the same plant in Dongguan Muncipality of Guangdong Province, China). Lastly, these lists are for Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, Pentax cameras. Conclusion? This is it: there is no wonder why China has managed to jump the line to be the World's fourth largest economy in just 30 years.

Selected Excellence: Wouter Brandsma

(Courtesy and copyright of Wouter Brandsma. Taken with GX200)

Wouter Brandsma is no stranger among Ricoh camera users. His works are highly regarded by fellow "Ricohans". Located in Holland, Wouter has published many intruguing photos and useful articles on his GX100 and 200. We are in the process of translating one of his articles in Chinese, as a way to better introduce him to the Chinese speaking community. This photo caught Nevin's eye because of the emotional charge in it. The man in a beret is a war veteran having taken part in the real battle. It was also because of the feeling of action, rendered in an emotional way by a typical upper-left-to-lower-right diagonal pattern.
By Wouter Brandsma: The photograph was made at the 64th commemoration of operation Market Garden. See the full story with more photographs here. The RAW file was processed in Adobe Lightroom and converted to B&W.
I really like to use a compact camera since one can easily can blend in with the …

True Colours of the Editor...'s Place

All photos are taken at Nevin's place...shhhhh...while he is away. His place is warmly aglow with the early sunshine in the morning.
(From top to bottom: a table lamp, clock from Santorini, plant and shadow, crystal ceiling light, a curtain)




A Christmas Letter to Readers

Dear Readers,May we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas full of love and joy. Christmas is a season of receiving and giving love, especially when this year lots of people are suffering from the financial downturn. If you are lucky enough to be spared a job, we are joyful for you. Even if you not, don't lose heart. You are not alone and this will pass. Hang on, just hang on.(Hands Full: This man loses both hands. He makes his living by being a painter in the street. He has decided to hang on regardless of his difficulties)For those who are more lucky at this point of time, may we call upon you to share your love with your family, the people around you and those who are in need. Donate money to a charity fund or do a voluteer work. We are no empty talker. Take Nevin for example, he has been doing voluteer work for two non-profit-making bodies for a good course. He does it on top of his job, family, a tight schedule to practice guitar and manage this site. Whenever and whateve…

Six Feet Under

(Ephemeral: This is a real but transient world.  Where are we going to after the end?) A year has almost slipped by, and we are nearing Christmas. Love through the birth of a saviour in the Christian belief is the religious theme of Christmas.  I like this theme.  This makes me think of not birth but, I don't know why, death. Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being immediately springs to mind, in which a sentence goes like this, "From the first day of our birth, we are all moving one-day nearer to death each day." What a pessimism!

Death is a matter of importance in the Chinese society. The funeral of the Chinese is also known as "Ba Si" , literally White Ritual, as opposed to "Hung Si", literally Red Ritual which is wedding. The Chinese wedding ceremony is themed on the auspicious red colour while the funeral on white and yellow.
Paper Offerings (Coffins, Chinese style)
When I was young, some old people would prepare a set of paper …

Titanium, Just in Case You Wonder

This is it, Leica D-Lux 4 Titanium edition. Just in case you wonder after reading yesterday's post.

Digital Print Size Rule-of-Thumb

(Baffled Driver: I walked past this taxi driver who gave a baffled expression on his face. He would have to pay for the repairs and probably make do with no income until the repair is done. The insurance agent will certainly up the ante for next year's policy) I have came across a few questions about the largest quality print size of GX200's images. Well, I have done 4R (4 × 6 inch) and 8R (8 × 10 inch) prints. No problem at all for even 8R size. But the question about the largest quality print size baffled me. After much asking and searching, EUREKA! For general use, the largest quality print size for a digital image is calculated as follows: vertical and horizontal pixel counts divided by 200 respectively. For a critical use of the photo (in a photo contest, exhibition and so on), make the denominator to 250. Take the GX200's images for example, the largest quality print size for general use is 15 ×20 inches (i.e. 3000 and 4000 divided by 200); for critical use, 12 × 16 in…

Leica Hong Kong Promotion

The local Leica dealer is offering a special Christmas promotion for Leica D-Lux 4 and C-Lux 3 buyers from now on until the end of January. Each purchase wil entitle you to a 3-year warranty and a Leica leather case (the one for D-Lux 4 is worth of HK$980). The 4 selling for HK$6,900 is a Leica version of the Panasonic LX3 with different firmware and a more high-class outlook. It is worthy noting that the price of D-Lux 3 has never dropped since its introduction, meaning that Leica cameras have a high resale value in case that concerns you.
For those who cannot care less about the price tag, a limited Titanium edition of the D-Lux 4 is available at a mere HK$9,500.

Tai Chi Ladies

Good morning.  Morning is a time for exercising.  Here in Hong Kong, you will bump into people having morning Tai Chi session in alomst any park.  Even some gweilos and gweipos (literally, male and female foreigners ; previously offensive terms but now playful among even the expats) do Tai Chi with local masters in Chater Garden at Central for some mornings.  The Hong Kong Tourism Board has partnered with some parties to offer free Tai Chi class to tourists.  You may check this out for whether the classes are still available.  Otherwise, show up in any park and ask the local Tai Chi exercisers for permission to join. So don't be sleepy head.  Get up after reading this post and do some exercise too.

Ye Heung and Si Taup

(Classical Mailboxes: These tin mailboxes were characteristic of the 1970s when the general domestic buildings in Hong Kong did not have a place for mailboxes.  I took this shot on the ground floor of a tenement building) Some weeks ago, I published a post about the tenement buildings in Hong Kong. Most of these old buildings remain in Mongkok, Yaumatei and Shumshuipo on the Kowloon side, with some declared as monuments in Wanchai and Sheung Wan on the Hong Kong Island. Let’s get down (or up?) to the nitty-gritty of these buildings.In most cases, these tenement buildings are closely packed together from  wall to wall, making it possible for residential units to have front and back windows only. Most of them are still poorly managed. There is no proper place even for mailboxes. The communal electrical and TV cables are lined casually in the common areas as you see in the photos below.                          (Letters are frequently stolen)
A large number of them are of three to four …

Photography: What Counts?

(Featuring photos and comments on DP1 by SW Kuo from Taiwan)A previous discussion on compacts for portraits triggered off the a photographer to say that street shots photograph was for wimps, quoting Norman Parkinson's 'Wimps make bad photographers'. This thought-provoking comment made me write something to share my views on street photography, which is in the process. Until then, I wish to illustrate an important question first. Let me start by showing you some portrait works of SW Kuo from Taiwan. He wrote to me that there were much left to be desired in the following shots but was brave enough to let me publish them. Typical oriental politeness. My salute to Kuo. He uses a DP1. Despite its CCD of a larger size, I consider the DP1 compact enough to be relevant to the contents of this site. (A portrait taken with Minolta 7000i in my greener days) If we compare Kuo's works with Ye Li's (here and here), also a DP1 user, there is an obvious conclusion which should…

Temple Street Night Market

The following photos were done during the shootout with Cristi, a Ricoh camera user from London. He lent me his GRD which was set to the B&W setting at ISO 1600. As a GX200 user, I found myself fumbling for the zoom button without success. As I shoot primarily in colours and seldom shoot in such a low night situation, I was quite unaccustomed to the setting until almost ten shutter clicks or so. After the shootout, I agreed with Cristi that the ISO1600 was exceptionally useful in such a situation for B&W; he simply skipped ISO 400/800. The noise gives a wonderful film-like grainy look to the images which I like a lot.(Can't Get My Eyes off You: The sungalsses kiosk owner is busy counting the money) (Look Up, Look Down: A tourist buying some hair accessories) A brief note about the Temple Street night market: it starts from Yaumatei to Jordon. If you walk leisurely without stopping, it will take you some 30 minutes to finish it. The lesser known facts about the market are t…