Saturday, 4 July 2009

Wish to Test Your Photographic Skills?


Entering a photography contest is as much about winning as testing, hence improving your photographic skills.

This is a contest just commences by joint effort of the Popular Photoraphy and Adobe. The Grand Prize winner will be published in an upcoming issue of Popular Photography magazine, recognized on, and receive a 2-night stay in New York City for a photo excursion and tutorial with a Popular Photography editor.

The Reader's Choice winner will be selected by Web site visitors and recognized on Be sure to come back to view, rate and comment on other submissions!

Both the Grand Prize and Reader's Choice winners will receive full copies of Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 2. In addition, by entering this contest, you will automatically have the chance to win one of five full copies of Photoshop® Lightroom® 2.

Contest is open from June 23, 2009 through August 23, 2009. Three to five images per entry. Click here for more information about the Reader Choice. Click here to enter and read the rules.

I've seen some of the entries and am sure that I've come across much better ones in some of the blogs and fora I regularly visit.

Friday, 3 July 2009

GX200 Digital Filters

R0016292 (Medium) ^One of the special things about Hong Kong is that you can see lots of tropical cyclones, or locally known as typhoons, in the summer season here. In the urban areas, however, the buildings are so packed that the real strength of the rainstorms and winds is not fully felt. One has to travel to the less developed but equally accessible countryside to get the real taste. So there are places for both laid-back photographers and the more adventruous ones in photographing the inclement weather.

Further to the mentioning of the magenta cast on the photo yesterday, here are another example. The shot was taken in the morning where a tropical cyclone had just landed on Mainland China. I was strolling along the beach aimlessly, admiring the clouds being stirred in the sky. It was a bit rainy but the sun managed to shine between the clouds. The clouds were so dramatic to my eye that I decided to take a shot.

First I took the shot below, reviewed it and found something wrong. The image showed a rather sunny day because it caught the occassional sunshine. Hoping to faithfully represent the weather of the time, I closed the aperture a bit and use the GX200's white balance correction function, aka by me the digital filters. I moved the cross on the LCD screen to the magenta area to add the same cast to the shot, which is the first picture of this post.

R0016291 (Medium)

The magenta filter is preferred for dusk shots to add a nice pinkish or purplish tinge to the sky. Here the pinkish tinge dramatises the scene, especially the clouds. Now the shot reproduces the scene as it was.

For those of you who don't own a GX200, or those who own one but haven't tried the extremely user-friendly digital filter function, you have missed a big joy. Try it out yourselves and make your own experiments plus conclusions. As far as I'm concerned, it is ace.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Photography that Kills the Media

CH Huang* deconstructing Hsu's photography idea (translated by Nevin):

SY Hsu’s portrait works are unique in terms of the non-existence of any theme or any articulation transcending photography. His portrait works persistently represents a "friend—beauty" projection of his self and the illusionary relationship onto the image, killing the intermediary optical device. This projection aptly concludes his photographic intentions which precede photographic art per se. Paradoxically, these forerunning intentions are roused by the need of photography and in turn result in the intention to kill the media of photography.

No individual subject in Hsu's works is ever epitomised as a certain character in photographic reflection. This is a result of the element of instantaneous flash-back of time present in each of his shutter releases, which, more precisely put, constitutes a micro flash-back in the images outshining the element of "image formation". This feedforeward freezes his subjects before any photographic manipulation.

In other words, his joking and fancing in front of the subjects become a mechanism which makes the beauties be freezed instead of being so later by the shutter release. In this connection, photography morphes into an action or at least an act. The release of the shutter has transformed from a decision to cumulate and cut an image, to escape. This split-second escape is the only possible way to freeze the gazes between the photographer, Hsu and the subjects.

The strangeness in Hsu's portrait works is afforded by this photographic idea of his. Each subject is individualised in the proceedings under such a mechanism. His subjects have thus be turned into individualised strangers.

*Assistant Professor of Department of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts

(Published by courtesy and with copyright of SY Hsu)

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Photographing Strangers

SY Hsu on photography and his "Strangers" picture album (translated by Nevin):

"I always thought that if I managed to photograph somebody often enough, I could never lose them. My photographs are, however, the proof of how much I have lost" – Nan Goldin, contemporary photographer

As you start taking the first picture of someting, you are doomed to face the prospect of losing the same. In my recently published picture album, there are all works of mine about the smiles belonging to but me. Almost without knowing it, I have taken pictures of the smiling faces of numerous ladies. But I am ended up with loniness by my side instead of the ladies I have somewhat fancied.

The good however best it is will be gone one day. We are obliged to take gain and no gain as the two sides of the coin of reality. Now this side shows, now the other side shows. This is especially true when the "gain" is by way of photography, which impresses the gain and no gain on the same space of an image. Only after then will the photographer realise that there is nothing really gained.

The traces of time have been left to different extents on us, be them physical or psychological. The distance between strangeness and familiarity is always shorter than you can imagine from an image, which only affords us a bit of a distance.

(Published by courtesy and with copyright of SY Hsu)

Monday, 29 June 2009



In several previous posts on selected excellence, I've introduced to readers a young and promising Taiwanese photographer, SY Hsu who is especially talented in portrait works and has won a PX3 title in a worldwide photo contest.

I've just got an email from him about the album of his works recently published in Taiwan, which will also be available around the world. The album is in English and Chinese. We'll be taking a peek into his works this week. Meanwhile, the album is for ordering via this site. Regrettably, the site is in Chinese only.


In passing, Hsu will earn his master degree in photography a few months later. And, to set the record straight, I am in no way affiliated to him in business. I just admire this self-taught young man for his achievement, and likely greater ones to come.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Charlie's Angels

R0016082 (Medium)CharliesAngels1976^These ladies are crossing the street in their own way, which is not the proper way pedestrians are supposed to take

I spotted’ em jaywalking in Mongkok! Well, We all get old.

This is Sunday. Have a good day!