This shot was done at a Lama temple cum monastery known as Yong He Gong in Beijing. It was originally one of the imperial courts of an early Manchurian emperor of the Qing dynasty, but was later turned by his successor into a Lama temple apparently for national assimilation purpose. It remains the largest Lama temple outside of the minority-autonomous regions in China.
Today, there are still Lama monks holding religious congregations and meetings in the temple. This shot was successfully made from a higher point which was secured by the author some 20 minutes before the scripture chanting session started. The A55 was manually pre-focused and turned to AF-C but with the AF mechanism temporarily disengaged, allowing the AF to quickly chase the focus only upon re-engagement. The lens was Minolta’s 75-300mm midrange cannon, which allows for zooming to roughly 480mm with the APS-C sensor.
The shot was captured for the contrast of the more intense facial expression of the older monk and the playful faces of the two younger monks behind, which is accentuated by the different orientations of their heads and the hopefully right aperture value. The colour, light and shadows seem right to just give the image a religious atmosphere.
It is one of the two shots for the scene. The final image has been cropped a bit to highlight the subjects.
Once on a bus a chatty lady was overheard embarrassing his male company who was reviewing his shot, with the exclaim, "You can’t hide anymore; I saw those shots of a pretty lady on the street. Need me to tell your wife?"
For a photo to be eye-catching, a subject more pleasing to the eye makes a big difference, be that a handsome face, a beautifully curved body or a heavily coloured whatnots. Our eye tends to be more attentive to mind-soothing objects. Photographers are born with this intuition; our fellow human beings are of no exception. It may be just that with a trained eye, photographers stay more alert and irresistible to catching images of pretty persons and things. Sometimes, with a camera, you just can't bear not pointing the lens to those pretty ladies and handsome men.
With a 300-plus mm zoom lens, hopefully, the pretty lady was supposed not to notice it. But she did and her facial experssion looks less natural.
Oh, she got a Canon G. In passing, Canon has recently been bombarding the prospective buyers with ads for the G12 and S95. Judging from their "age", and from the usual 12-month clean-up period for the stock of old models, it is a safe bet that Canon has something up its sleeve.
At the very mention of security guard in China, the image of a fierce looking, ill-mannered man immediately comes to mind. In Hong Kong, it is not unusual to hear news reports about the misdemeanours of security guards in Mainland China. Just in May, a young groom from Hong Kong was reportedly bitten to death by the security guards in a hotel there. The whole truth of it might never be known though.
Chip Tsao, Hong Kong’s talk show maven and popular columnist, once commented in his usual sarcastic style that Hong Kong is increasingly moving after the motherland towards the rule by security guards. True, in Hong Kong, one will now be more likely tickled by them in a threatening manner when wandering in a sensitive area or acting suspiciously to them. While the Hong Kong Police, formerly known as Royal Hong Kong Police Force, has adopted a friendlier and more transparent culture, the security guards are filling the vacuum of the patronising role of the former royal protectors.