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Showing posts from January 2, 2011

Eat Pay Luck

(Camera: Samsung EX1; Herbal dices with mango slices in mango syrup)

Hong Kong is always the gastronomic capital of Asia and, to say with some justifiable audacity, of the world.  There are a great variety of places for whatever food you may have in mind. Not just food, but good food.  This is no empty talk because the author has heard comments like this from friends living in other big cities like Paris, London and Sydney.  While you may spare a special trip here to the haute cuisine restaurants listed in The Michelin Guide Hong Kong (MGHK), what you will not want to miss are the starred local eateries.

This Chung Kee Dessert shop is not, but should be, included in the MGHK.  This shop is a popular place among the locals for desserts of variations bred locally.   Pay dearly for the dessert is not required in Chung Kee.  In fact, the yummy desserts are so reasonable priced that from the evening at about 8 to mid-night, the shop is always full-house and you'll have to wait awhile fo…

They Are In Love

(Camera: Ricoh GX200)

What came to the photographer's mind when there was the decision to take this shot?  And how to say what it was in the final image? 
"We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility" is what Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), the renowned Indian poet, wrote in Stray Birds which is a collection of food for thoughts by him.
Mr Tagore was right about that.  And one of the great things in humility is love, which cannot be taken for granted even between husband and wife or parents and children nowadays.  So sad, isn't it?  But if there is only one thing people need most in their heart, it is love -- true love.  The definition of true love is not necessarily religious.  However, the Bible has a very accurate account of what love is:
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I hav…

Dragon's Head

(Camera: Ricoh GX200)

As the Chinese New Year is approaching, of which this time the new year day falls on 3 February, chances are that you will see some lion dances.  With a bit of luck, you may even see dragon dances!

There is a vivid depiction of a dragon dance by Martin Booth in his memoir Gweilo, which is about his childhood in Hong Kong:
"Finally, to the clashing of cymbals and striking of hand gongs... stilt-walkers and jugglers followed the lion, there was a gap and then the dragon arrived on the scene.  It was magnificent.  Its head was at least nine feet high, excluding the  horns on top.  Its mouth -- red-mawed and lined with white teeth -- was big enough for me to have sat in.  The mouth was operated by a man walking in front of the dragon with a pole connected to the dragon's lower lip, whilst the remainder of the head was held high by one man.  As with the lion, he swung it to and fro, lowered it to the ground then looked at the sky, in time to the percussion in…

Guess Who's Tweeted Us!

Linzi just tweeted our post featuring images of her performance in Hong Kong!  Surprise!

On Individuality

(Camera: Ricoh GX200)

Photography is like painting or drawing.  It is born with individuality.  The photographer has a message to say, and so it is said in the final image on the strength of how he or she reproduces the scene.   Given that the persons are equally skilled in photography, the only thing that makes the reproduction and hence the message stand out is individuality.  It is also individuality that gives the images their unique artistic value, making them a success or not.

A practical training to cultivate individuality is to think laterally, meaning that you change your stance or train of thoughts by jamming in interrelated elements.  In a word, it is simply doing a crossover sort of thinking.  Take the shot of today for example.  The modern building was seen and therefore reproduced at an angle to mimic the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa.
In parallel, the satellite-signal receiver discs and the moon are included to give the image an extra dimension of interest, heighte…

Most Common Theme

(Camera: Sony A55 @ f5.6, 1/125s ISO 100)

One of the most common themes in Chinese painting and poetry is lotus.  There are four much-loved types of plants in Chinese culture which are known as "the four gentlemen", namely, plum blossom, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum.   Although lotus is not "in the fold", it has a unique cultural connotation compared to an incorruptible person since lotuses gracefully grow in muddy ponds.
The Chinese sentence on today's shot reads, "Among the clear circles on the water stand the lotuses upright".  "Clear circles" refer to the lotus leaves.
A side note: interestingly, the least common theme in Chinese painting is moon.

Pictorial Depiction

(Camera: Sony A55 @ f5.6, 1/80s ISO400)

"Hua yi", or pictorial depiction, is a concept in photography bred in China between the 1920s and 1930s. Briefly put, it is about how to reproduce a scene in the final image stylistically reminiscent of a Chinese ink painting. It is generally held that Chinese ink painting combines a number of artistic elements including Chinese calligraphy, literature, painting and sealing (the study and use of a Chinese seal).  That is to say, the photographers implementing this concept should know some, if not all, of these elements.  Previously we have introduced a Hong Kong photographer renowned for extending the scope of and excelled in "hua yi" photographic works.
The shot today was made possible by eroding the colour of the final image of the bamboos against a pale yellowish wall.  Added on it was a Chinese couplet in calligraphy saying, roughly, Among the raindrops on bamboos and winds through the pines comes the string music; Through…

Mainland Cousins

(Camera: Sony A55)

Hong Kong has have lots of these Mainland Chinese visiting on any day of the year since its return to China.  For one thing, the way they lavished money on the pleasurable things (and effectively turning the big-brand name flag shops along Canton Road in Kowloon into de facto RMB deposit-taking companies -- look at the queues!) and more importantly in the property market has brought Hong Kong among the firsts coming out unscathed from the financial tsunami.
But among some of them, the spitting, sitting and squatting at improper places, the loud-speaking, queue- jumping and letting young children peep and poop on the street, to name a few, have brought steady cultural shocks to the Hongkongers every single time these behaviours are noticed.
Maybe the new year wish is that the Hong Kong way of conducts can be preserved for as long a period as possible.