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Showing posts from January 25, 2009

Assorted Chinese Lions

The best part about the Chinese New Year is the lion dance. I have seen many of them, among which only a few were performed on the peg array which consists of pegs up to 3 metres at the highest point.

There is usually two lions dancing on the pegs in a mixed acrobatic and Kung Fu style. They dance and race for a overhanging lettuce, known as “Choi Tseng” (pluck the green).
The Chinese character of Tseng also denotes Spring, the east and young. The lion plucking the lettuce is taken figuratively as an auspicious sign for the new year. In a similar manner, a single lion followed by a band of Chinese drum players may dance and shower the lettuce pieces it finished munching about the shops. The lion players are normally given red packets as a token of thanks.

Just in case you wonder how I managed to take photos of the dancing lion: Well, it was the first time since I got the GX200 last year that I missed my Dynax 7 SLR with a lightning focusing speed, a true shutter modenad a l…

B&W Gallery

We have fetched and published a B&W magazine subscription link in the left-handed sidebar. This is one of the magazines we have been reading in the public library. Real eye-opening and inspiring it is, especially for photographers shooting in B&W. Magazines devoted to B&W photography are few and far between. The magazine has put up an on-line B&W gallery which you can view here.

Don't Shoot in Black and White

Wonder why? If you prefer B&W images and shoot in colour, you can harvest better results by way of conversion. If the reason is not obvious to you, read on.(Mahjong Player No.1: Mahjong is the all-time favourite mind-body-emotion-wallet contest, a.k.a. gambling, in the Chinese adult world. The four players can spend hours over the game with chats on topics ranging from the economy to gastronomy. This photo is converted to B&W from a colour image in RAW. In case you wonder, it is a job far from well done, nor the others to follow in this post) Recently, I talked with a fellow photographer about using digital cameras in B&W photography. We made mention of Luis Castaneda*, a renowned Cuban photographer located in the United States. Luis takes photos predominately with digital compacts and earns his fame and living with those photos (keep working on your photographic skills even with a serious compact; any of us can be a photographer as successful).(This is an inspiring p…

Links to GX200 Review

The following review of the GX200 was done by Nevin from the perspective as a SLR user:1. gx200- a slr user's verdict (review 1 of 3)2. gx200- a slr user's verdict (review 2 of 3)3. gx200- a slr user's verdict (review 3 of 3)

Win a Sony A350 Before Too Late

Tomorrow (GMT+8hours) is the closing date of a local photo contest co-organised by Wing Shing Photo and Sony. The theme is "My Growth My Life". Photos must be taken with a Sony camera and submitted before midnight on 31 January 2009 local time. The winner will win a Sony A350 with lens. There are also prizes for runners-up. For details, check it out here.

Group Photo Afterthoughts

(Group Photo: Roasted duck is the gourmet dish on almost every single table for celebration in the Chinese New Year)Today, life is basically returning to normal after the Chinese New Year holiday.There have been chances aplenty to take group photos (of people not ducks, mark you) during the Chinese New Year holiday when we paid visits to all the relatives and friends. Two things sprang to mine while I was reviewing the group photos.A fun thought about group photo is: how many shots does it take to get an blink-free group photo? Physicist Dr Piers Barnes came up with a formula (1 - xt)n , which is so unpractical to a photographer at work that he simplied it into:For a group photo of within 20 subjects, a blink-free photo can be obtained by the number of subjects divided by 3 (when the light condition is good) or 2 (if the light condition is bad). This is still too complicated. My simplied and proven version is:No matter how many subjects there are in a group photo, ask them to close th…


This limited edition camera case for G10 is available in Hong Kong for a while.  If you have the money to burn and don’t think that the camera itself is bulky enough, it is now selling for less than its rack price of HK$980 here (for exchange rates, use the calculator link on the left sidebar).  It is certainly a head turner, just as my GX200 on a neck strap hanging around my neck which rises eyebrows on the street.The Canon’s press release is as follows.Blending with Canon’s over 70 years of optical imaging expertise and market leading digital image technology, PowerShot digital compact camera is well-received by the public. PowerShot G10 Digital Compact Camera, in particular, incorporating superior images and professional functionalities is definitely the best choice for quality-conscious style-savvy. In view of this, Canon has invited the famous Japanese fashion designer Mihara Yasuhiro to design a classic yet stylish and practical camera case for the newly launched PowerShot G10. …

God of Fortune

Ladies and gentlemen, CHOI SEN arrives!If Santa Claus is the more secular symbol of Christmas in the West, Choi Sen is the same for the Chinese New Year.  Choi Sen is a god of fortune in the Chinese folk worship.  “Choi Sen” should be put in plurals for there are the civilian (BI and FAN) and military (ZHAO and GUAN) gods of fortune, which is the case in China.  For Hong Kong and Taiwan, which are Chinese-dominated countries, people also take the god of land (TODI) as a god of fortune.  Actually, in Hong Kong, for reasons of practicality and simplicity, the god of fortune is a blend of all. Most non-religious Hongkongers still follow the tradition to receive the god of fortune at the Chinese New Year’s eve, giving a chance to adults and kids alike to make money.  Well, it is like the treat-or-trick visit in the Halloween.  These opportunists write the Chinese Characters “Choi Sen” on a tiny piece of red paper, and go from door to door.  Sometimes in pairs, they press the door bell whi…

R10 Vintage Version + Film vs Digital

(This film version of R10 is available in a neighbourhood shop for US$70)
A new year comes, and the old year must go. This is Mother Nature’s rule, harsh as you may consider it. Film cameras have almost exhaust its value in the history of photography, save some special niche markets like the medium format cameras maybe. But one day, which will not be far away, cameras in whatever format will be conquered by digital models (And the hefty DSLRs must drift towards the attributes of smallness) Today, we have an interesting discussion on this topic by Bill Lockhart. Bill is a retired Courts Administrator of one of the largest trial courts in the United States. He is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel, US Army National Guard, in which he served for 30 years, and for which he was honored with the Florida Cross, the state’s highest award for service. He holds a BSJ from the University of Florida School of Journalism, is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management, a graduate of the US…

Off Topic: Win a Sony A900

This contest has been going on for a while. So, try your creativity and win an Alpha 900. Participants must register as a Vaio Club member (you’ll need a Vaio machine serial no.). Click here to the contest site. Some of the winners can easily be surpassed with a wee bit more creativity which you can certainly show.

Chinese New Year Fun Phrases

This is the first day of the Chinese New Year here.  For the next three days of public holiday, people are going to pay goodwill visits to relatives and friends to bring them gifts, red packets (money for kids) and good wishes.  Some of the good wishes are interesting if you consider it literally.  Let’s look at some examples using the above good wish posters which people stick on walls at home for the Chinese New Year.Choi Yuen Kwong Chung: The source of fortune coming in profusely.Ceok Yup Pink On: Going in and out
and have peaceDai Gat Dai Lay: Big mandarin big
advantage (Gat= mandarin/luck)Lone Ma Jing Sun: Dragons and horses
are energetic (a good health wish)Mang Si Sing Yi: Ten thousand things
winning as plannedYat Tuen Wo Hey: One heap of
harmonious air
(Get along well wish)The best part of the Chinese New Year to me is seeing the lion dance.  Lion dances are usually staged on the seventh day of the Chinese New Year.  Hope that I have the time to watch some.(…

Aboard Kiev Class Aircraft Carrier

I was aboard a Kiev Class Aircraft Carrier not long ago.  It is an eye-opener for those who like me haven’t been on an aircraft carrier.  This is the real carrier named Minsk berthed at Shenzhen, China’s earliest boom town neighbouring Hong Kong, for tourists.  There you are allowed to go from above the machinery deck to the flight deck to as high as the captain’s bridge. At the lower deck, there are lots to see from the captain’s cabin to the actually working conveyer system which moves the missle up to the flight deck, on which there are aircraft you can go in.(All staff are in navy uniform to put on an atmosphere aboard)
(This is the second highest deck open for tour, the air traffic control tower, above which you can walk on the captain’s bridge)
(This is a Soviet Mi-24 Hind, one of the aircraft on which you can go in the pilot’s seat)
(Guided missles on the flight deck which you can touch and feel.  They are moved up to this deck by a coneyer system which is still working …