Saturday, 18 February 2012

C'est La Vie

life (Leica X1)

There are ups and downs, twists and turns, the bright sides and the sombre times. But in the end, there is always a way out.

Noticing the scene required quite some practising of the photographer's eye. While I was making this shot, some passers-by followed the lens's direction and took some similar shots too. Where did I take it? Underneath a footbridge. The setting was quite dark. As the Leica X1 "reduces" shake by taking two consecutive images, I still had to steady the camera by resting my wrists on the railings. I made nearly seven shots to come up with this more satisfactory one.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Off Topic: Being a Photojournalist

Ever read that interview on dpreview in which the interviewee speaks about the doom of photojournalism being a career? The turth of it is yet to be tested. But what is sure is that being a photojournalist is a dangerous job sometimes. Just yesterday, an uptown residential area in Hong Kong saw a handful of cranes with arms spurring up in the sky from where unprotected photojournalists raced to take shots of the ernomous scandalous illegal basement beneath the house of the Government's former second man Henry Tang -- now the candidate hopeful for Hong Kong's next helmsmanship -- which is reportedly built under his knowledge during his term of office in the Government. Tang has spoken evasively to the press this week in the hope of covering up the matter. Yesterday's incident is reported in some international news media.

As an aside, we have seen here some creative bloggers taking advantage of digital post-processing to bring us some entertaining images to ridicule the adsurdity of the scandal and Tang's responses -- he now makes his wife the scapegoat for it.  In effect, this is to say that he has nothing to do with the illegal basement while living on the floors above.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Old Photographer

L1000222L (Leica X1)
Photography is a hobby which one can enjoy indoors or outdoors, alone or in a group, in a luxury style or without the prohibitively expensive outlay, at a young or great age. But after having used the Leica and the Lecia forum, probably because Leica cameras have more mature users,  I have a second thought about the last point – at a great age.
From the Leica Forum, a user jank made an interesting comment on camera shake:
There are two types of "shake", one could be described as a camera movement, the other a real shake, which I am experiencing now being 73 yrs old.
The first one could be alleviated by using any type of support, like light tabletop tripod rested against the chest.
The other needs more mass to take care of the shake.
Not just the shaking of the hands. At the Ricoh HK meetup, some users mentioned their aging uncles’s eyesight has deteriorated so much that they cannot do manual focusing through the viewfinder.
Something for thought.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Leica x Swire Hotels Exhibition 24 Feb - March 4 (date extended to 19 March)


Just got a message from the very hard-working Juliana (18 hours everyday behind the computer as she confessed) about an exhibition of the top five winning entries (mine at bottom right of the poster) to be held at the prestigious Upper House hotel from 24 February to 19 March.  If you are working in Queensway or going to dine there, you may make a trip to levels 6 and 38 of the hotel to see the photos exhibited at A2 size (i.e. similar to two A3 paper).

Juliana is running an interesting blog for the hotel where she offers lots of ideas about the city as well as, of course, the hotel itself.


L1000246L (Leica X1)

Hong Kong is very misty today. Everything is veiled in whiteness which, with the inadvertent use of spot-metering and a high ISO setting, contributed to an overexposed image giving a different view of the harbour.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A Kiss Upon the Lips

L1000420L (Leica D-lux 5)

The Valentine's Day in Hong Kong always sees troops of delivery persons busying around in the street and squeezing in public transport with bouquets and floral baskets. Such less romantic sight is no where to see if one knows its way to some less visited areas around town. And there one may find more matching scenes which better befit the day as today's shot does.

Let's pick from the history a lady's tender love letter to her lover. It was written by a German writer, Bettine Brentano (1785-1859) to Goethe.

"You know my heart; you know that all there is desire, thought, boding and longing; you live among spirits, and they give you divine wisdom. You must nourish me; you give all that in advance which I do not understand to ask for. My mind has a small embrace, my love a large one; you must bring them to a balance. Love cannot be quiet till the mind matches its growth; let me know when my heart is off the balance. I understand your silent signs. 
A look from your eyes into mine, a kiss from you upon my lips, instructs me in all, what might seem delightful to learn, to one who, like me, had experience from those. I am far from you; mine are become strange to me. I must never return in thought to that hour when you hold me in the soft fold of your arm. Then I begin to weep, but the tears dry again unawares. Yes, he reaches with his love (thus I think) over to me in this concealed stillness; and should not I, with my eternal undisturbed longing, reach to him in the distance? Ah, conceive what my heart has to say to you; it overflows with soft sighs all whisper(ing) to you. Be my only happiness on earth your friendly will to me. O, dear, give me but a sign that you are conscious of me."

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Power of V


As the Valentine's Day is coming, people are getting particularly romantic. The LCD at the back of the X1 shows a shot I captioned in the street. With the right working method, no camera is too slow for a good capture.

This shot reminds me of some great love letters in history. Like a powerful image, a well written letter can stick the message firmly in the reader's mind. The following is one of those addressed to Josephine by Napoleon -- also just in case you are racking your brain for some ideas for tomorrow:

"Dear Josephine,
I have your letter, my adorable love. It has filled my heart with joy... Since I left you I have been sad all the time. My only happiness is near you. I go over endlessly in my thought your kisses, your tears, your delicious jealousy. The charm of my wonderful Josephine kindles a living, blazing fire in my heart and senses. When shall I be able to pass every minute near you, with nothing to do but to love you and nothing to think of but the pleasure of telling you of it and giving you proof of it? I fancied that I loved you some time ago; but since then I feel that I love you a thousand times better. Ever since I have known you I adore you more every day. That proves how wrong is that saying of La Bruyere, 'Love comes all of a sudden.' Ah, let me see some of your faults; be less beautiful, less graceful, less tender, less good. But never be jealous and never shed tears. Your tears send me out of my mind -- they set my very blood on fire. Believe me that it is utterly impossible for me to have a single thought that is not yours, a single fancy that is not submissive to your will. Rest well. Restore your health. Come back to me and then at any rate before we die we ought to be able to say: 'We were happy for so many days!' Millions of kisses, even to your dog. 
Napoleon, Marmirolo"
Sounds that the writer had done something very wrong. But this doesn't make it a less heart-meltingly-good love letter.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Don't Just Sit, Shoot

L1000215L (Leica X1)

This is Sunday.  Pick up your camera, go out and shoot.