Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Urge

downthestairs (Leica X1)

Yesterday I said the GX200 was a camera which gave me the urge to shoot pictures. The Leica X1 is also a camera in this category but of a different class.

With the GX200, it is like there are unlimited shots to snap in the street. There may not be a reasonable wherefore for the urge. A probably one by my guesstimate could be that the final images ooze out a unique taste compared to what was observed in reality. But honestly, there are times when we could delete as many images as we have captured back home.

The Leica X1 gives the urge in a different sense, especially when users like me work on manual exposure and with an optical finder when using the X1. Composing pictures through the optical finder obliges me to turn off the LCD screen which in turn obliges me to turn it on when tweaking the exposure combo for a scene. Otherwise, I can make a guess for final results. Its AF speed can at times lag behind the GX200's. The RAW plus JPEG images take a bit of a time to write into the memory card. It doesn't have fancy modes or a real anti-shake functionality. Taken together, these "limitations" drag down the shooting process, so much so that the user will either miss a shoot or be required to think ahead. This camera simply urges the users to be the thinking and self-challenge photographers. It begs them to observe, think ahead and rely on their own knowledge of photography rather than the camera's complementary functionalities. It points to an older fashion of doing shots: with less haste and more consciousness.

While the GX200 invites me to use it, the Leica X1 urges me to tame. Just some sentimental observations.

Friday, 4 May 2012


gotcha (Ricoh GX200)

Took the GX200 for a walk in the morning and it's as trusty as always, except that I had been spoiled a bit these days to become mindless of its slower AF speed. This resulted in a few defocused shots. Otherwise, I still find the GX200 a camera that gives me the urge to shoot. Its rendering of images at ISO200 or above are crappy to some in terms of noise. But it is exactly for the noise that I prefer the feel of its B&W images. The noise gives a grainy or coarse texture to the final image which is solely lacked in the spotless images produced by, say, my D-Lux5 which are too clean to my liking. For this matter, the GRD3 could probably be preferred over its successor, the GRD4.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Night Market

R9365172L (Ricoh GRD4)

Is this Spring, overheated Spring or already Summer? Hong Kong has reached as high as 33 degrees centigrade this week. Fortunately, the humidity has not set it and there have been pockets of showers every day or two.

During the last, and first, Hong Kong Ricoh users meetup, I gave sort of a very brief talk about pointers for caring for cameras and so on. One was that a camera should be left cooling down in the bag for some 10 to 20 minutes after going outside from a cooler indoor venue lest condensation will build up too drastically and do harm to the cameras. Interestingly, as I made mention at the meetup, some photographers have been seen using the corner of their shirt or their body hair on their forearm to clear the condensation off the lens. An unbelievably silly stunt, I'd to say.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Eye Contact

L1010417L (Leica D-lux 5)

The digital era may make it easier to end up with fave shots. Even lousy photos may be turned likable after a few clicks in the post-processing workflow. But if digital advancement or amendments have any bearing on the cultivation of personal style, no photographers will need to discover his or her own photographer’s eye. Undoutedly, this is out of the question. Only with a trained photographer’s eye can we give a thinking gaze and capture an eternal moment, in our unique style. Style is the soul of a great photo.

A few posts have been written in GXG to touch on the topic of photographer’s eye. Instead of finding an answer, which would require academic discussions, the posts are intended to give my general reflections and spark interests in moving towards further exploration of the topic. 

The posts can be viewed after the links:

1) Photographer's Eye: Storytelling
2) Photographer's Eye: Little Show of Observing
3) Photographer's Eye: Sight-Worthy
4) Photographer's Eye: Uniformity

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Kowloon Photo

Kowloon Photo (Leica D-Lux 5)

The Kowloon Photo Service is a time-honoured shop tucked in a quiet corner on the old Woo Sung street near the Temple Street night market on the Kowloon peninsular. Every time passing it I am almost certain that for most of the time, what it does is nodding its sleepy head to the slow humming of the external air-conditioning units on the second floor across the street. I will usually stop a bit for window shopping. It doesn't sport a modern shop front with flickering LED blinks or shone by a cluster of floodlights. No fanciful array of novel merchandises on revolving beds or highlighted with flowery billboards in the background are found in the two crampy window displays outside the shop, but a small number of selected items -- not  even the newest models but only the good stuff including old film point-and-shoots -- each attached with a string tied to a tiny price tag on the other end.   The price tag is inked with numerals, not printed with QR codes, mark you.  It is seemingly trying to make as little show as possible of its presence by today's standard. 

The style of yore continues to its interior. I especially like the old-style glass-door cabinets behind which the photographic beauties line up to tickle one's fancy. Personally, I have a leaning for such neighbourhood old stores compared to the forever burgeoning big chain shops which appear rather intimidating to me. A plus is no troop of Mainland travellers bustling about.  Some find the shop too plain but others like me just love the nostalgic experience of doing shopping there. It offers friendly service and, most notably, photographic paraphernalia not commonly available in just any shops, including darkroom equipment. The Kowloon Photo Service has seen days of better business but now is probably more satisfied with a fair amount of earnings. In a world where big and new are good, this old-and-small-are-beautiful mentality is a non-starter. Glad that its is still around.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Sunday, 29 April 2012

WYNG Masters Award for Photography


A local WYNF Foundation is calling interested photographers to attend a free talk by Simon Wheatley (his works here or project website here) to kick off a WYNG Masters Award for Photography. It is a photography contest with the theme, let me take a deep breath for it's a bit long -- Don’t Call Me Urban: the Time of Grime. Submissions are welcomed from photographers of whatever nationalities on the condition that the images are shot in Hong Kong. Details of the contest can be viewed by downloading this file.

The free talk is on 11 May. Reservation is required.

Healthy Banana Man

bananaman (Leica X1)

This is Sunday. Have a fruitful day!