Friday, 2 July 2010

Right From Above

R1090579 (Medium)

A captivating perspective on the otherwise usual scenes is seeing right from above. This was the thought while doing shots with the R10. Would a good theme and repetitive compositional elements going with such a perspective combine to produce intriguing shots?

Well, this guy does. Maybe we can learn something from his truly fascinating shots.

R1090614 (Medium)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Hong Kong Stop

R1090564 (Medium)

Ricohforum's Ricoh Around the Globe project has been going on for over a year since its start March 2009.  Now the camera R10 has finally come to the Hong Kong stop.  The note book which came with it is a joy to read, recording the interesting facts by the photographers at the previous stops.

So here are the preview of some of the shots I have done with the R10 before I can come up with those of my choice for posting at the forum and the flickr page.

R1090608 (Medium)

 R1090618 (Medium)  

R1090607 (Medium)

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Fung Moon Kee

P1080483 (Medium) A time-honoured plaque of the shop, Fung Moon Kee. For people savvy in the local history, the calligraphic characters from right to left on a wooden plaque readily tells of its old age of a good many decades.

There are old shops galore in Hong Kong giving glimpses into the lives during the days of yore, if you know where to go. In case you need a tip, head to Shanghai Street which was where I went with the GF-1 and stumbled upon an old-style bedding shop.

P1080486 (Medium) An old photo in the shop shows the long array of shops, one of which was Fung Moon Kee, along Shanghai Street in the 1930s.

Actually, Fung Moon Kee is what the locals call an embroidery-works shop or "sau-jong" in Cantonese. With a history of over 100 years, the shop is originated from Singapore. A sau-jong served in the old days as what a bedding shop does today.

P1080481 (Medium) The old-timer is working behind the glass display cabinet with all sorts of bedsheets tossing out smiles in motley colours in the background.

Uncle Lam in his late 70s has been working in the shop as Manager for over 60 years. According to the old-timer, embroidery needleworks made big sales in the old days. As time wears on, so does the trade. This has lots to do with technological advances and changes in social values. What does the sau-jong sell actually?

P1080487 (Medium) A rattan bedroll

Hong Kong has a subtropical weather, with hot, humid and sultry summer days stretching from June to early October. Such inconvenient months can make people growl for the many sleepless nights because of the stuffy air. While the modern men and women resort to air-conditioners, people in the old days sought help from rattan bedrolls which have the quality of cooling down the body heat a bit. Rattan bedrolls sold like, well, hot cakes at Fung Moon Kee then.

P1080489 (Medium)

Fung Moon Kee also sold and is still selling their special oriental verisons of the do-it-all Ricqles Peppermint Cure Drops, as evidenced in the above photo of an old-style flimsy order form of the shop listing out all of its merchandise.

P1080493 (Medium)

To go with the rattan bedroll, the rattan or wooden pillow (shown above) was a handy solution to cool down the head. I have no information about the origins of these rock-hard pillows. But they could be seen in some pictures about China in the imperial days.

P1080484 (Medium)

Lastly but most importantly, a sau-jong is meant to sell at least one thing -- the Chinese traditional ceremonial gown or "kwan gwa" in Cantonese. Kwan gwa used to be a must-have in every family. Whenever a birthday celebration was thrown for an elder in the family, kwan gwa would be the only proper attire for all female relatives. Look at the above picture and image what a sight that was!

Kwan gwu also served as the wedding gown. Although few brides buy tailor-made kwan gwas nowadays, some would still rent one to dress in on their wedding days to show respect to the elders in the family. Sadly, the liberation of women's rights does not especially favours such a "discriminatory" tradition. That "some would still rent" is actually few and far between.

If you have a chance to visit Hong Kong and fancy a visit to Fung Moon Kee, its adress is No. 203, Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

If Picasso Went to a Mall

R1230176 (Custom)

... he could have come up with extremely mind-boggling works.

Whenever I go to a mall, which, kitsch as they are, Hong Kong has plenty, the fascinating array of mirrors and the collages of images so reflected are my must-sees. With a trained eye, any photographers can easily imagine the intriguing final images out of such reflections, which reminds me of the great painter of all times, Picasso, for his radical works to capture his fleeting interpretations of his subjects on canvas. Some examples are here, here and here.

R1230190 (Large)

To me, the best way to practise a photographer's eye is to observe the world through a viewfinder; but shooting is not necessary. That means you have to bring along a camera always and use a viewfinder. I don't wish to risk any prophecy on whether the camera's LCD screen can do the same until I have tried so myself. I just wonder it may not be as good a tool for that matter. Of course, using your thumbs and index fingers to frame a scene is a makeshift way to do just that.

The day you internalise this perspective in observing things may be a long time coming. But when it comes, you will know that the practising pays.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Act Now! All Wrong?

A brief background about today's photos: The Hong Kong government had tried to, and finally with success, steamroll ahead a reform package for the future elections of the local legislature and government head. Simply put, the package was branded as "democratic" by the government while the opposition thought it anything but, with the moderate democrats buying it as a strategical detour. A three-day protests had been staged outside the Legislative Council building where the shots were done.

RIMG8773 (Small)

"Act Now" (right) was the government slogan for its publicity battlefield while the adapted version "All Wrong" (left) was the opposition's counterblow.

RIMG8694 (Small)

Bare-footed and blind-folded youngsters marched around the Legislative Council building in the fashion of ten steps and one intermediate kneeing to write down their requests on the floor. The banner says, "Withdram the reform package".

RIMG8735 (Small)

The protests drew many photographers to the scene.

RIMG8699 (Small)

The blind-folded protesters knelt to write their requests on the floor. The Chinese characters on the left say, "... in Hong Kong, who... hear my cry".

RIMG8710 (Small)

A rather heavily equipped photographer is trying his best to get the composition right. For me, I was saved the trouble by the tiltable viewfinder on my GX200.

RIMG8701 (Small)

RIMG8706 (Small)

RIMG8709 (Small)

RIMG8729 (Small)

On the back of this protester are four characters saying "high degree of autonomy" to protest against the Beijing government's meddling with the political reform of Hong Kong.

RIMG8733 (Small)

The plastic vuvuzela trumpet, which arose a bit of a controversy in the World Cup matches, has endeared itself to the protesters for its loud fanfare to draw attention.

RIMG8734 (Small)

A floor is covered with words of protests and demands after many rounds of marching.

RIMG8743 (Small)

RIMG8732 (Small)

RIMG8750 (Small)

In addition to the governemnt, the local Democratic Party is also at the centre of the current storm of protests. The characters on the floor say, "Shame to the Democratic Party".

RIMG8759 (Small)

RIMG8765 (Small)

During the days of protests, the Legislative Council building was surrounded by the protesters, police officers and the mills barriers.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Pulling the Quay

_SAM2366 (Medium)

"Dad, how does the man pull the quay to the boat?" said a little girl.

This is Sunday. Spend time with your family, and share some jokes together.