Saturday, 10 September 2011

Operation Tai Ping Tei

R1232789L (Ricoh GX200)

Operation Tai Ping Tei refers to the regular environmental clean-up operations organised by the British Hong Kong Government in Hong Kong in response to the  outbreak of plague at the turn to the previous century.  Tai Ping Tei literally means Peaceful Place, which speaks volumes for the hope the residents had in the operations. Similar activities went on in the territory for a few years under the auspices of the government when the SARS epidemic had subsided.  The very mention of Tai Ping Tei will conjure up among the senior residents images of the old Hong Kong when the city was a lot less kempt.

r199_01_01 
(A government record documenting the colonial officials’ reactions to the plague problems in Hong Kong)

Friday, 9 September 2011

Standoff

R1232630L (Ricoh GX200)

The downfall of Nokia in the cellphone market may be repeating in the camera market.  Japan market data recently shows that the promising sales of mirrorless cameras in Japan is eating in the market shares of the “definitive” DSLRs of the two key players, Canon and Nikon.  The standoff between the several “minors” and the two big guys is not only likely but has already taken place. At the moment, the two does not sound a bit edgy about this. At any rate, it is interesting to see how Canon and Nikon will react to take on the challengers’ suppressed taunts and retain the glory. Now that the duo have lost (cast away?) the best momentum to jump on the mirroless bandwagon, the likelihood of seeing comparable models from them is highly questionable.  At least they remain coy about such a reality.

R1232633L

However, since they are still holding the rein on the market, the duo may manage to strangle the challengers simply by downsizing their cameras in the pipeline while beefing them up in functionality. Cutting cost is believed to be not in their dictionary. The next move is remained to be seen.

Back to the shots of today. They were made possible through constantly observing the world around. In the first shot, the two persons were in fact having some prank with one another. Since their body gestures and sizes made a prominent and comical contrast, which should make the image focus, the author snapped the shot in black and white to accentuate such a focus by removing all the distractions. The second shot took place some 30 seconds afterwards. If the second interesting scene had not been anticipated, the author would have already left and therefore missed the shot. Observation and anticipation are the indispensible elements in photography, in a way more important than one’s photographic skills.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Resting on her palm

R1232551L (Ricoh GX200)

The greatest asset of Ricoh is probably the culture it affords to instill in its users that the fun in photography is to take advantage of the photo opportunities presenting themselves at the next street corner.  This mentality can be seen in the unassuming body design and the highly user-friendly interface of Ricoh cameras, which together contribute to the "stealthiness" of them. Take the shot of today for example.  It was a candid snapshot made possible with the dial slot which instantly recalls the pre-set functions. The author has set one of those three programmable slot with a combo of ISO200, a manual focal distance at 1 metre with a focal length of 28mm. The only thing left to do while taking this shot was to press the shutter release all the way down. The author was sitting just 1 metre next to this stranger on the street.

This mentality makes it very enjoyable going shooting with the Ricoh cameras, be them the GX, GRD or GXR models. The problem is that with the new GXR M-mount for manual focusing lens, the mentality is somewhat lost.  The GXR with a M-mount compatible lens will be something of a head turner. The focusing can sometimes require more tweaks and turns on spot too. What does the new system combination best suit for then? Most important of all, is there a mentality behind the change or is it just a market orientated move? Why do one needs such a tool except for to reinvigorate the old lenses?


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Chance to Try GXR M-Mount A12

If you are in Hong Kong, there is a chance. Click the picture below for details:

image

Point of No Return

329775_10150288894101915_530886914_7944827_368664702_o (Kudos to Dennis of Laikok)

Sometimes, going from one step to another will lead you to a point of no return. Ladies and gentlemen, the GXR body with its expensive companion, a Leica 35mm f3.5.

(Similarly the author just checked out the Sony A77.  Its focusing is decidedly faster – even for some tricky reflexive black surface -- and way beyond the performance of A55.  This comes with a price for sure, roughly a top-up of HK$4,000 )

Well, at some point in your life, either your mum or your wife already asked you to stop going into photography. Now, there is no way to return but to save up money.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Affected Indifference

R1232534L (Ricoh GX200; the underground in Beijing)

While the Beijing underground system is being run by the Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railways Corporation,  Hong Kong is being increasingly run over by the Mainland affected-indifferent way of doing things. This attitude is so deeply ingrained in the Mainland Chinese psyche that it governs their everyday life from selling adulterated milk powder to not holding the door for the next person going through it.

In a nutshell, affected indifference is the omnipresent attitude in Mainland China that everybody cares about their own welfare in private, and not least in public like:

1) Go in the train compartment/ lift/ gents or ladies without letting people leave it first
2) Not remove the food-tray and crumbles from the table before leaving a fast-food shop
3) Talk at the top of their lungs (sometimes on the cellphone) in public
4) Jump queues, excusing themselves to you that their friends are queuing in front
5) Block a vendor machine to make sure that the next person will still be the next even though they themselves have been fumbling for coins for a while
6)  Snap up the newest limited i-whatitiscall and resell them at a dear price and so on

Fact is, unfortunately, some of these peculiar behaviours are becoming easily felt in Hong Kong. For example, probably except in the MTR Central Station at the CBD, people on the platform will rush onto the next train arriving before passengers can manage to drop off.  The latest similar experience the author had was a near-stampede by a troop of Chinese woman visitors with luggage cases who tried to push people (including some children) in the lift car back once the lift arrived at the ground floor.  Hong Kong seems to be vanishing in the shadows of the comrades, who are generally ostentatious in appearance and indifferent at heart -- the worst combination possible!

(Of course, there are exceptions which are however still few and far between)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Oceanic Visitors

ships (Sony A55)

Recent weeks have seen oceanic visitors to Hong Kong including the Tura nor Planet Solar, the world’s first solar boat on circum-global voyage, and the USS Boxer, an amphibious attack ship of US. Their appearances may have reminded us of how lucky Hong Kong to have a harbour so very deep that virtually all sorts of ships can moor at the facility close enough to where spotting and photographing them are extremely convenient.

DSC03451L DSC03571L

Thanks to the panoramic mode of the A55, shooting the above scenes has never been easier with good results.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Business Opportunities

R1232572L (Ricoh GX200)

The Chinese banner writes.  Not very promising.

This is Sunday. Enjoy your day, sleepy heads.