Saturday, 21 March 2009


R0013070 (Medium) (Everything’s Vanishing: The building disappearing in the distance is about 500 metres from where I took this picture.  It is more foggy on the waters)

Today is extremely foggy.  The fog is even thicker than yesterday when two accidents of ship collisons happened, injuring many.  One old fisherman lady of 62 y.o. was seriously injured when the sampan carrying her and her husband was tore into two halves by a catamaran, dragging the lady to the bilge of it.  I hope that she will be up and about soon.

So, I took some photos at the old Kai Tak International Airport to convey the theme of foggy, for which I came up with the word Masked.

Have a nice weekend!

R0013086a (Medium)
(Behind a Beehive: I looked through the patterns and the van was like a jigsaw puzzle.  The illusion came strongly when I stared at the scene longer and the lines of the van became disconnected)

R0013072 (Medium)

R0013071a (Medium)(Spikes: The shapes of the fence just echo the spikes of the wheel nicely. I like the rhythm in the photos)

Friday, 20 March 2009

Selected Excellence: Plucking the Heartstrings

SY Hsu, a famed photographer in Taiwan, has been introduced to our readers here, here and here. This time, let's continue from where previously we stopped short of the matter plucking his heartstrings. All photos were taken with Sony DSC S85 and F828.
sony f828_008

Photos: SY Hsu
Text: Isa
Translation: Nevin

This is Yan (the pseudonym "Sweetheart" has been used for her photos published) and the photos were done by the guy I am acquainted with since my freshman year, SY.

Although Sweetheart smiles with a delicate aroma of sweetness really, filling the viewer's heart,

I am going to talk about the other one instead of her.

sony dsc-s85
I wish to say something about SY, an admirer falling for Sweetheart head over heels.

I recall that I first knew him when messaging on an online BBS board one day during my freshman year.

He impressed me with a huge sense of humour, which is written on his face too. Around the same time he bumped into Sweetheart.

sony dsc-s85_002 
Heaven knows how many times he had revealed his heart to her but it must be as many as he returned with a broken heart.

That broke his heart, but never could take it out of him (maybe at some point of time it was about to but he just could not let go).

Over the years of this bitter disappointment over love, SY has used his cameras to record the episodes of Sweetheart from her maiden days to womanhood.

sony dsc-s85_004

It seems to me that Sweetheart opened up his talent in photography.

I know nothing about photography except for rejoicing over a crispy sharp photo. I have never bothered about the techniques or context in photos.

But for every photo he took of her, SY asked Sweetheart how she thought and felt about it.

In fact, I feel deeply about this: you are as silly as courageous. I wish I have the same courage.

sony dsc-s85_001

The first time he published his works on a photography magazine, he picked the photos taken of her for a pictorial birthday card he gave her.

The first time he published his book, he used the stories between Sweetheart and himself and titled it Strangers.

For his first photo exhibition, he devoted it for Sweetheart.

sony f828_001

In the introductionary message for the exhibition, he wrote, "I have made you popular, and made myself your porter."

When I read this I could hold my tears no more....

Speechless, I ached heart for him.

 sony f828_003
But I think, without Sweetheart, there would not be any chance for a photo exhibition by SY, wouldn't it?

And I think SY being who we see today is only possible with the combination of Sweetheart and himself.

sony f828_004

SY, I admire you for your courage and persistence, which I have none.

I long to possess the same in me.

Every time, you give us a surprise.

sony f828_005 
Thank you, SY.

sony f828_006

 sony f828_010

sony f828_009 sony f828_007

(Published with courtesy of SY Hsu, and copyrights of Hsu, Isa and Nevin for the respective materials)

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Wednesday Diligence

R0013383a (Medium) (Walkie-Lookie: The man was so engrossed in the horse racing journal as he climbed up the footbridge that I was able to walk side by side with him, pointing the GX200 towards his direction without being noticed. The active space on the left balanced the static man with some dynamism by showing where he was moving into)

Horse racing is a heritage left by the British. It has been a much loved pastime of the local gambling community. Horse racing has all along been a big business monopolised by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), founded in 1884 and formerly known as the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club from 1959 after granted the Royal Charter by QEII* until 1996 before the return of Hong Kong to China.

1966hv(Happy Vally Race Course, circa 1966)

The HKJC has a legal monopoly over betting on horse racing and football. In 1974, it opened 6 off-course branches where the members of the public could wager on horse race meets at the club's Happy Valley racecourse. There are now in excess of 100 betting branches throughout the territory which accepts bets on racing and on soccer and buy Mark Six lottery tickets. Some years later, another racourse was built in Shatin (literally, sandy field).

Prospective winners or losers study very hard on the days of races. There are horse races for betting every Wednesday and Sunday. These photos are taken on Wednesday, so the title of this post.

R0013568 (Medium) (Hanging Heads: I took this picture in the McDonald's. I like the colours and the contrast between the two heads. I cut the composition that way, removing the tables and the reading materials to keep the image crisp and simple)

R0013620_b (Large) (Study in the Alley: Whenever there is a Jockey Club betting branch, you will find a scene nearby similar to what is shown in the photo. If you look carefully, you will find the people on the far side were also studying the horse racing tips in the newspaper. Ever since graduated from school, these men have kept it a weekly habit to read a lot … of the gambling section in the newspaper every Wednesday)


* This is to show that British had ruled in Hong Kong in case you wonder (Just kidding):


The pailaus at the junction of Nathan Road and Gascoigne Road. This pailaus was built to celebrate the Coronation Of Queen Elizabeth II. This pailaus was the biggest one. The photo was taken in 1953.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

When Three Know it

R0013735 (Medium) (When Three Know It: The good thing about always carrying a camera with you is that there may be an interesting scene showing up in any minute and you will never miss it. I shot this pocture in the morning. Since the three placard ladies could not see me, I stood in front of them and took time to meter the scene with my GX200 before shooting the picture. The big characters on the placard read, "Good job positions; Click and you'll get them", advertising a website for job seekers. The common saying has it that, "When three know it, all know it." Maybe that's why there were three of them)

As I had read about superimposition as a composition technique to reveal the inner nature of a scene, I knew what exactly I was doing when taking the picture of the three placard ladies. Some weeks ago, I also used the same technique in shooting the strawberry lady in an open market with a red lamp shade superimposing on her head. There, I tried to use superimposition in the composition to question the credibility of the lady who said that her extremely low-priced strawberries were first grade produce from Japan. Here, most people being worried and pre-occupied by finding a job is the meaning in the scene I hope to reveal in this photo.

In fact, three persons with the same placards advertising for a website was a rare sight. Normally, there would be only one person deployed for this sort of street publicity work each time. This rare scene says much about the growing business opportunities for the job-matching website with the economy in the doldrums. The three similar subjects alone are emphatical enough to bring out the dire need among people for jobs. Actually, those three people were part-time workers paid on an assignment basis. With the superimposition of the placards on them, the image echos visually to the pre-occupation of seeking a job on people's minds.

The more a photographer shoots, the more he or she'll begin to refine the eye for composition. This will make it a second nature to the photographer to frame a once-in-a-lifetime situation when it presents itself. Having been taking pictures every day, I was immediately aware of the appeal of the scene across the street at first sight. With the knowledege I have learnt in the literature on photography, I hope to achieve the result on purpose, not by chance. This makes photography a much more fun thing to do.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

(Just Updated) Ricoh CX1 Shots by Users

(I have just updated this post with links for the CX1 versus F200EXR in terms of high ISO nightshots, together with some shots showing the barely noticeable purple fringing in CX1's images. My initial conclusion is that Ricoh has made the CX1 tick. The coming replacement models for GRDII and GX200 should therefore be something really exciting)

image(CX1 @ ISO 800)

Ricoh's CX1 has started selling on the market in this part of the world. In Hong Kong, it is officially priced at HK$ 3,080 (around US$395). Impatient users (impatient because they have already bought it without waiting for a proper review) have uploaded some photos to various websites. From the photos I have seen, the CX1 performs quite good in rendering images in difficult lighting situations. The high ISO images are not bad for a camera with such a small sensor, and the improvements are actually very visuable.

The price can go down a bit to make it really competitive though.

Shots with DR Double Shot mode on/ off





scene 1

scene 1

scene 1

scene 2

scene 2

scene 3

scene 3

scene 4

scene 4


High ISO and Comparative Shots






Comparative shots

1600 (R10)

1600 (CX1)


200 (R10)

200 (CX1)

More Comparative Shots

154 (GX200)

400 (F200exr)
800 (F200exr)
1600 (F200exr)

200 (CX1)

80 (CX1)
100 (CX1)
200 (CX1)
400 (CX1)
800 (CX1)
1600 (CX1)

Purple Fringing [ISO/ Full Size Crop]

80/ Crop 100/ Crop 200/ Crop

400/ Crop

More shots by Hirsan and Digitalbear can be viewed at full resolution here and here. Some DR mode shots are here.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Moving Scenery

R0013741 (Medium)(The shadows of the spotlights are casted on the big outdoor billboard, which is surprisingly empty, on the facade of a building facing a busy thoroughfare in Kowloon)

Last Sunday, I took a bus trip with my GX200. With less traffic and people in the street, the streetscape was very different from what one would see on weekdays. Visiting usual places at different time of a day is a proven way to give the photographer renewed perspectives on familiar scenes. As the bus moved on, the moving scenery unfolded outside the windows. They were so familiar and yet so strange.

R0013740 (Medium) (As the bus went under a flyover and stopped at the traffic lights, I found it visually interesting for the straight lines seemingly stretching from the road dividing railings to the wall on the far side and the underneath of the flyover above the bus)

The scenery looked different also partly because my mind was at ease. Sunday mornings are always the best time in any week. Do you have any pictures taken on a Sunday morning to show us? I'd be happy to receive and publish yours here.

R0013743 (Medium) (This was the last picture I took on the bus before dropping off at the bus stop. I felt really refreshed after the trip)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Leather Neck n' Wrist Strap + Your Name on It


Some of the serious compacts are sold with free neck or wrist neck. In Hong Kong, the LX3 1973903129comes with a nice, free leather (feels like deerskin)  neck strap. For the G10, you get a decent leather neck strap for an additional minimal payment. The GRD has a primitive nylon neck strap which I think doesn’t quite match the camera for its class. As regards my GX200, I use a neck strap which I detached from an old lens case. I think a neck strap is a good idea for serious compact users.

The Artist and Artisan’s leather cases and straps are well known among compact users. But I have just discovered a handmade alternative by a Taiwan manufacturer, Chad Leather Craft (CLC).


CLC’s design allows the neck strap (blue, brown, dark brown or red in colour) to be partly detached to form a wrist strap. Customers enjoy English words etching service on the strap for free for ten alphabets (not “words” as translated by Google). Blogger Noodle has a nice photo illustration of how her detachable neck n’ wrist strap with her name on looks like:


As revealed by another user, Kay, the tack and thread can be changed to match the colour of the strap. But you have to discuss the possibility of your choice with the manufacturer.

In case you wonder the length of the neck strap and how it looks like, Kay has modelled with hers (the wrist strap is handbag-like but the last photo shows another design):

1973903125  1973903130

CLC also offers leather camera cases for sale. In case you are interested, go here to check out the details. If I am not mistaken, the yuan (dollars) refers to Taiwan dollars.

(Published with courtesy and copyrighted photos of Noodle and Kay. I have no personal or commercial connection with CLC. This is just to offer information for fellow readers. Buyers should be responsible for any purchase they make with CLC)