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Showing posts from November 16, 2008

Protectors of Children

(Funny Faces: A blend of frightening and interesting, the faces of these traditional soft tiger toys catch my eyes.  In the Chinese New Year, some children wear stitched tiger shoes with similar face patterns on.)In the exhibition of embrodery I visited last week, there was a corner decorated with soft tiger toys of various sizes and colours.  Tigers, along with images of other animals were used as tribal totem images in prehistoric times.  Gradually the tiger was combined with the mythical dragon in a new culture. Over 2500 years ago, when unification under one emperor on the now Chinese continent was estabilshed, the dragon became the emblem of the power of emperors, while the tiger quietly endeared itself to the masses, and in particular, became the protectors of children.Mothers made tiger hats, bibs, vests, gloves, shoes, toys -- in effect to cover the children from head to toe with image of tigers, to ensure the continuity of the household bloodline, and to bless the children wi…

Come to Rest

Taken in a public housing estate, these three photos I took, along with  several others, for a photo contest themed on "caring and support". I picked the upper one and sent it with another four different photos for submission. The photo tells of the architect's thoughtfulness to put in metal seats every twenty steps along the 200-metre walkway for the elderly tenants' sake.
In Hong Kong, about one-third of the population live in these publicly subsidised housing estate, which were initiated by the former British colonial administration following a notorious great fire in a shanty town at Shek Kip Mei (literally, Rocky Gorge End) in 1953. At that time, masses of refugees fled from the civil war in China to take refuge in Hong Kong, only to find themselves among broken bricks and half-collapsed walls – hopeless and homeless. As time wore on, the shanty towns became home to 300,000 people, almost a quarter of the whole population.
(Shek Kip Mei shanty town: "In those…

DP1 vs LX3: A User's ISO Test

In arranging the upcoming night comparison shots for G1 and other serious compacts, I bumped into a local forum in which a user of DP1 and LX3 did an ISO test for the two cameras.LX3 is praised for its high ISO performance as a compact.  But in both the local and overseas photography circles, there have been discussions about the false ISO numbering of LX3.   That is to say, LX3 on a higher ISO performs in a way as another compact on a lower ISO.   Take for example, if you use ISO 100 for two compacts, chances are that LX3 needs a longer exposure.  If that's true, it's not at all welcomed.Back to the ISO test, click HERE for a Googlish translation.Chinese version is HERE.

Maiden Art thro' a Man's Eyes

(Occidental and Oriental: At the entrance of the exhibition, there was a large drape showing many pieces of miniature ethnic clothes of people in China and Taiwan.  A western old lady was admiring the needle works.)I made a visit to an exhibition of embroidery yesterday. Embroidery is considered the finest of Chinese women's needle arts.  With a simply needle and coloured silk threads, patterns of flowers, birds, animals, people, geometric patterns, are deftly embroidered onto silk or cotton fabrics, using as many as over a hundred varieties of stitches.(Embroidered period waist bags)(The embroidery at right shows a popular theme in the Chinese culture which is fecunity.  In the old days, these blankets were doweries that symoblised good wishes to the new couples.)Embroidery has survived the centuries in China, due to its application in daily life, such as decorations on purses, shoes, bonnets, and other personal items.  In addition, owing to the patronage of dynasties of emperors…

Rustic Charm of Lifestyle

(Very Rustic: This is one of the metalsmith shops nearby.  It is open for business six days a week of which the smith usually bares his upper body and sits on the chair at the folding gate.  He left the chair with a grin on his face when I asked for permission to take this photo.  I wished he hadn't.  The small cabinet with two red bulbs is a shrine for deities which is obiquituous in Hong Kong's Chinese families and old shops.) I live in a neighbourhood which has an atmosphere. It is sort of aged and dilapidated. An old area it is, having seen better days before an extensive reclamation of the sea some 15 years ago to form the land in existence today. In those days, the area bordered on the waterfront where sailors from the four seas* disembarked at the piers. Those seamen were ashore either to take a short break, load or unload the goods consignments, or replenish necessities in preparation for another long voyage. Travelling in barges to and fro the piers and their big ships,…

LX3 vs GX200: How to Read a Review

This article will reveal the all-impotant question to ask upon reading a camera review next time.(Victoria Harbour with the Hong Kong Island in the background: This was taken by handholding my GX200 which I rested on a railing, enabling me to use ISO100 and effectively avoid the high ISO noise issue. I could have made the image less blurred if I had the mini-tripod that I usually carried around with.)What matters the most to an undecided buyer after he or she read a camera review? The "highly recommended (not just really)" rating? A comparison of the length of the lists of pros and cons? As a user, what should we deduce from a review to hammer a deal?Let's take as an example Pavel's recent review at ricohforum.com. Pavel has put together the full size JPEG photos taken with a GX200 and a LX3. In a nutshell, the results show that LX3 produces images with a better quality. Okay, photography is mostly about the end product which is the photo. But, wait, before a good ph…

Second Life

(There are a number of zi zah shops, literally "funeral-paper-product shops", in the neighbourhood offering a whole array of paper offering merchanise which includes this 5-feet bungalow fitted with all sorts of modern household contents. Other prestigious items are life-size paper iphones, PSPs, notebook computers, jewellery and whatnot.)(On the first floor, a palm-size paper doorman is keeping guard. On the second floor, a maid has prepared tea on the tea set ready to serve.)It is a common conception to many that the biggest oriental religion is Buddism. Think again. For one thing, Buddism has a number of splinter branches. It has been so historically widespread and relatively accommodating that the corollary is a merge with religious beliefs in folk deities. Its theories (Buddism is actually not qualified to be a religion but more a school of theory if religion is what at least a god is involved) drew the likes of the folk reiligions. Take for example, Buddism'…

GX200 Can Really Zoom

Now, when you are really into photography and start to learn this common language, mark that you can go bust and be penniless if you wish to speak with the Queen's accent.  I am writing figuratively about the respectable owner of the GX200 pictured above.  It is fitted with a 500mm cannon!  Wow, have you ever thought of putting your serious compact to such a creative use?  The photographer said that the gears belonged to his boss who was a geek of wild bird photography.  Okay, how come he hasn't bought a proper DSLR?  That is the real question.  As I said, when you are into photography, sometimes you have to be out of your mind to do a thing so creative, and expensive I think.  It is likely that the gears are for fun and the rich boss has already got a number of proper wild bird photographic tools.A photo taken in 24mm:Zoomed to 500mm and there you are (the shed is at the far end of the passageway on the left, and the car is parked at the end of that passageway):The photograph…