Saturday, 19 June 2010

Implications

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There is a publicity exhibition for the new Toys Story movie in a mall here in Hong Kong.  People young and old, with or without children, flocked to the mall to take pictures.

RIMG8684 (Small)While most people shoot their models big or small posing near the exhibits and cartoon characters, I was trying my best not to do any shots in such a conventional way.  The least thing I wish was to end up with boring pictures.

So the best way is to do the shots in an implied way.  I walked around the scene trying to capture the essence of the exhibition in the images in a hope to making viewers grasp the occasion and feel the atmosphere.  I even walked to the highest floor of the mall for some shots.  A wide lens is essential for such a shooting occasion.

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Friday, 18 June 2010

Selected Excellence: Ole Ole Ole Ole

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This post wanders a little bit off GX GARNERINGS' track in that the photographer, Dean Dorat, did these wonderful shots not with a serious compact. But who cares? Great football matches are the order of the day and these shots are great! Now, I strongly recommend rolling down to the bottom of this post, clicking on the video and checking out the pictures with the music playing.

Dean is a french photographer based in London. She does photography and graphic design. The pictures here were done for his Beautiful Game project, now available in a book for purchase here.

This is what she has written about the project:

These photographs were taken during the 2006 World Cup, when I divided my time between London and Paris, going from pubs to bars, trying to catch the essence of each football match through people's expressions. Each spectator was so intensely absorbed in the matches that they forgot about the camera pointing at them. These photographs draw us into the emotion of the moment, be it the overwhelming euphoria of victory or the emptiness of defeat.

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I like the first picture best. He must be the biggest bully in the room. All are great shots! For more, go here. (Courtesy and copyright of Dean Dorat. Dean, thank you for the permission. If you are reading this, maybe you can think about taking part in the PX3 photo contest with these images or even the book as entries.)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Pirates and Caves

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There is a very famous site in Cheung Chau.  So I didn't take a ride on the walla-walla just for a spin.  There was a destination: the Cheung Po-tsai Cave.

_SAM2323 (Medium) If Scotland has some of the most impressive landscape features in the UK, Cheung Chau is the Scotland of Hong Kong.  On one end of the two hilly terrains joined by the long stripe of land and beaches, which give the name of Cheung (long) Chau (island), the rocky hills not only provide some breathtaking views but also harboured a notorious man in history, Cheung Po-tsai, who was a big pirate in the coastal area in Southern China.

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The tourist's information says, "Hong Kong waters, close to the Canton shipping lanes, were always attractive to pirates. The most famous of these was Cheung Po-tsai. He was an officer of the pirate chief Cheng I (active 1802-1807), and later of his widow, Cheng I-sao (1807-1809).

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"Cheng I ran a pirate fleet of 1,200 junks, and 50,000 men. This fleet was easily able to defeat the local naval patrols. In 1809 there was a battle between the Portuguese and this pirate fleet, which later led to negotiations and the surrender of the pirates without any punishment.

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"Cheung Po-tsai was born in the Hong Kong area, and legends about his career became locally widespread. His name is thus attached to many coastal places: while he may or may not have been closely connected with these sites, it is at least certain that the sites look out on waters over which, for nearly ten years, he reigned supreme."

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The pirate's cave going through the foot of a headland on Cheung Chau which is believed to be one of the numerous hiding places of Cheung Po-tsai.

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Rumours have been passing among the local folks that the pirate used the cave to hide his plunder.  It also served as an escape when he was pursued.

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The cave is really narrow and only allows the passage of one person at a time.  You can forget trying if you have a big belly or arms too weak for the climbing near the exit of the cave.  Actually there are other places in Hong Kong connected with the pirate Cheung.  Let's see if we will have a chance to visit some of them.

_SAM2298 (Medium) Now, let's get in and go through the cave!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Humanistic: Thoughts on the 10th Ricoh Photo Contest

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Ricoh's serious compacts have a distinictive quality to them for which one word immediately springs to mind: unassuming. Surely a camera doesn't make a photo – it is the photographer's spirit that does – but as birds of a feature flock together, several of the GRDs and GXs users whom I as a stranger spoke to on the street had some similar quality of modesty. Such a character was also reflected in their images too.

As I browsed the gallery put together by Ricoh with works selected from different Ricoh users (accessible by clicking the above picture), I found the same thing threading through the selected works – unassuming as well as humanistic.

The reason I spoke on this topic is that the 10th Ricoh Photo Contest is on. We may get our Ricoh cameras and do some good shots. But how about starting from making a list of the winning elements? I have briefly looked through the winning entries of the previous contests, and came to one conclusion: the winning photos mark a humanistic quality which I will relate to words like petite, everydayness, calmness, household, environment, commonplace and, of course, unassuming.

Good luck!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Afloat

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What can be more wrong than staying on a fishing island without riding a boat, or in the case of Cheung Chau, a water taxi, a.k.a. walla-walla?  The name walla-walla was originated from, in case you have forgotten it, the rumbling of its engines.

So I took a ride on a walla-walla and, of course, shoot while on board.  If the likes of NX10 is ever to disappoint a photographer, it is when shooting moving subjects or on a moving something like the walla-walla.  The slower focusing speed particularly of the zoom lenses had left much to be desired under these situations.

But anyway, I still managed to do some interesting shots.

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This plate on the roof of the walla-walla writes the piers it travels between.
 

_SAM2290 (Medium)This is what a walla-walla looks like.  Primitive, but the ride was enjoyable.
 _SAM2382 (Medium) Some fishing boats are coming back from the open seas.

_SAM2277 (Medium)Another walla-walla goes past ours.

 

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The Dragon Boat Festival is on tomorrow.  These guys are practising with yells and cheers amid the drumming beats.

_SAM2347 (Medium)A fishing lady in some traditional fisherman costume.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Morning After

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Head-rests, arm-rests or whatever they may be used for, these cute-face soft stuff for sale in Cheung Chau resemble the lucky tiger shoes for children during the Chinese New Year.

After the first night of my stay on Cheung Chau, I walked around the island in the next morning to look for photographic chances.

What I noticed in the neighbourhood are places having stayed unchanged since over twenty years ago when some Aussie friends of mine visited this place.  The preservation has been done in context, meaning that the whole community is retained instead of just a building or two.  Visitors can no doubt taste a fair bit of the Cheung Chau back some 20 years ago or more.

As it would be inconvenient for me to move close to the subjects who are enjoying their breakfasts and cups of morning tea , I brought with me the long-range zoom lens for the NX10.  It worked great under the good light condition in that relaxing morning on the island.  No particular focusing problem was noticed.

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I was fascinated by the colour buns in the above photo.  After all, one of the noticeable assets of Cheung Chau is the bun.  There is the bun festival every year.  Why are those blessed buns of the festival for?  Eating?  Not quite.  Some oldies living on the island have the faith that showering the shreds of the dried blessed buns on the street can stop bad weather on the sea.  Remember that Cheung Chau is a fishing community?

If there is one thing which reminds you anything about Cheung Chau other than its authentic culture, it is the King's Cafe sitting on the promenade overlooking the bay.  This is an old cafe and as the Chinese name (British King's Restaurant) suggests, its history dates back to the Hong Hong in the British colonial days.  Do try out their localised western dishes under the tree shades.

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Today's post finishes with the two photos below which show some old way of publicity – for Cheung Chau is a small island, publicity of activities is done by these mostly handwritten boards installed haphazardly around the corners and along the lanes.  I have the feeling that the GXR would have rendered these two photos with a more charming colour outcome.

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Sunday, 13 June 2010

Classmates

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On a horse racing day.  This is Sunday.  Have a fantastic day!