Friday, 27 December 2013

A Cigarette and Two Dogs

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Aging is a topic of eternity.  One may easily think of aging and loneliness as a constant pair but the latter could be a more ready bedfellow to photography, especially when at a festive time like Christmas.  Those photographers shooting Christmas decorations alone out in the freezing wind may enjoy themselves.  But the contrast of people in pairs or groups walking past them really makes the lone photographers pathetic in a certain way to me.  This morning I got up early to skype my aged friend in OZ who was my host while I studied there.  She has (now had) her 80th birthday today, and looking her face on the screen I was certain that she saw the irreversible force of time on my face too. Maybe aging is not only a topic of eternity, but also of philosophy.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Wonder of Blue Filter

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How to produce a photo like this, brightening up a part and blackening out the rest?

The original image was done in colour and given a yellow hue by the street lamps.  In post processing, add a blue filter effect to taper off the yellowish tone of the façade into the shadows; or in other words, to darken the yellowish area in the image.  Now the corridor was lit up by florescent lamps so the area is bluish and is unaffected by the blue filter. The end result is the accentuated contrast between the bright and dark parts.  For more dramatic effect, tune up the amount of highlight or exposure and turn the image into black and white.  Viola!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Luck and Patience

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The image would have been very bland if not for the luck of me  upon waiting patiently to have the opportune arrival of a car shining light from its headlights at a low angle, therefore rendering the scene in a very dimensional way.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

123 Solitude

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Air, pressure and solitude are some of the intangible topics which may be considered challenging to effectively reproduce in images. The mood, the light and the composition, as well as the relationship between the key elements within the frame, have to be brought together in a creative way to that end.  For today's photo, I especially included the number 3 which may read in an additional dimension of interest for its distance and echo to the two crossed legs.  And where is the "1"? Now use your imagination and again look at the gaps between the flooring planks of the boardwalk.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Uniform and Manifold

(Leica X1)

In darkness, all things appear as uniform; in brightness they appear as manifold. In the space between darkness and brightness, we photographers cultivate the art of photography.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Grating

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If you have photographed enough but never thought of using street furniture as lines to frame your subjects or do the composition, here is a humble example from me. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Monday, 18 November 2013

Musings on Streetshots

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Street shooting is something I haven't really done for too long -- roaming the streets for images which on the surface may look too spontaneous to serve up worthy photos yet at second blush easily click with the viewers for exactly its spontaneity. The spontaneity is afforded by the varied shooting positions of the camera and its close distance from the subjects, which combine to give a tight composition within the frame and the viewpoint of a person walking in the street.

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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Monday, 11 November 2013

Green

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Enjoy! Have a great week!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bright Green, Dark Shadows and Questions

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Going philosophically deeper into photography, I have been mentally begged for an answer to the question of how to render the aesthetical image in my eyes by way of the sequential interpretation of the camera and lens.  I mean, how a scene appeals to us depends on, first and foremost, our emotional state while to the lens and digital sensor the logical result of a series of calculation. In between the two is a rift to be bridged through all sorts of techniques and understanding in the art of photography.  But is that a sufficient reply? Is there anything that the photographer has to build up in himself, in his eyes and soul in relation to the people and the world around so that his images can fully connect the viewers to the alpha and omega of what and how he sees the scene at the decisive moment? If yes, how? If no, why?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Walking in the Rain

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Hong Kong has just had a typhoon passing at the doorstep, which is rare at this time of the year, bringing with it a night of rainfall.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Mongkok Market

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The two-year-old Leica X1 is the most endearing among my photographic gear. Yes, it is truly sluggish in focusing but for those who appreciate it, the philosophy behind the X1 is actually pure photography, to steal from Nikon.  It slows you down which in turns begs you to think and observe before snapping a shot, resting on the photographer rather than the electronics to take control of the result. The joy overflown from using this aesthetically equally brilliant machine is for a large part the result of such slowness.  With the X1, I have even found myself walking at more leisurely pace to observe because I couldn't just snap snap snap anyway.  The fixed Elmarit lens is also very loving. It was built to do what it does best, sharp images with a "3D-ish" appeal.  Today's photos in reduced size surely don't do justice to what high quality images the lens can produce.  I should have been more generous to post some full-size images here.

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Friday, 1 November 2013

Thursday, 31 October 2013

City in Stripes 4: Building and Builder

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If one goes up to the Peak and looks down, it is a view of Hong Kong strewn thick with skyscrapers.  While some visitors may be amazed at first sight, the building density is so high that the unsightly view can quickly choke off their holiday mood if not for the breathing space afforded by the streak of waters separating the land and the mountain ranges on the far side stopping further unruly dispersion of these developments. I am in no way a fan of modern buildings but old historical ones appeal to me greatly. If there is a feeling to represent modern glassy buildings, they are cold and do not connect with people. These concrete mammoths are first and foremost the tool to flaunt wealth. If there is really some saving grace of having them, it is merely that they remind me of what tremendous efforts the unsung heroes actually building it have put in. Some elements in today's photo may humbly give a footnote to what comes to mind when this scene appeared before my eyes.

The photo still fits in this week's theme, City in Stripes, by way of the lines and shapes and silhouettes.  The extra message in it is given through the wall of the left-side building and the pavement in the foreground which echo with each other because of their similar box patterns. This hopefully cues the viewers to the worker at the bottom, who is my intended contrast to the feeling-less skyscraper, and work out my visual "protest" against the current city's pervasive development pattern showing concern for barely anything but the largest possible floor areas to be achieved.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

City in Stripes 2: Bisections

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There is the left-right bisection, as well as a somewhat hidden top-bottom one on the right side of the scene. Enjoy the city, in stripes.

Monday, 28 October 2013

City in Stripes 1: Shaded Tunnel

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By visually deconstructing any mega cities like Hong Kong, one could be amazed to discover that these cities are formed by crisscross and its variant structures, or one may say by arrays of stripes pointing to different directions.  I am going to make this week's photos themed on City in Stripes.  Enjoy!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Foreground

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Using the foreground to juice up an image, giving information to highlight the story or theme of the shot, is a very basic and commonly used photographic technique.  But doing it from a low angle requires efforts to be made to observe and visualise the final image in the mind.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Propelled by $

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After the long holiday, we are propelled to work again.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Cyclist of Steel

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Travellers from the West can easily tell one thing unusual about cyclists in this part of the world: they ride on the road with absolutely no safety protection, and even wearing slippers, as if they were cycling on a dust road in a rural village where there were just cattle and old people around. It is kind of a miracle that few of them have got killed on the road in Hong Kong.

Friday, 11 October 2013

On Stage

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This time each year, from mid October to mid December, opens the best window of opportunity for taking photographs in Hong Kong using natural light coz the colours and shapes and details of all things on earth are brought to life under the sunlight entering at the low angle. What can be more fun and relaxing than a lunchtime stroll with a camera after a half day’s hard work (maybe except a cup of one’s favourite coffee).

This scene caught my attention immediately when I saw it some 30 metres away: the lady in white, the highlight of the edges, the contrast; they all make for a keeper. It was my lucky day because for some reason the lady kept standing at the spot as if she had been posing for this shot. I paced up the ramp hurriedly and took the shoot.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

There

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Through the lens of GRD4. Just love this.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Photo-Worthy Or Not



Sometimes a scene looks photo-worthy in one minute, but the idea doesn't seem to be convincing at second blush. On the other hand, a scene may appear to be bland for a photo, but the final image turns out to be mesmerising for its mood. That a trained eye is crucial for telling the difference is a fact. I'd say, for all that the elements of an interesting scene are naturally geared towards enticing a photographer to pressing the shutter release, that person actually needs to consider any scene not as is but in terms of all the possible technicalities to be afforded to the final image through negotiation by the camera and post-processing.
 
To take today's shot for example. The covered corridor was lit more brightly than it appears to be here. The light quality leans more towards fluorescent than tungsten. But reproducing the scene as was would have made it a dull sight. The shot was done in the cross-processing mode, underexposed and, to add a mysterious flavor to it, slightly defocused at the time of shooting. Afterwards, it was cropped to make the “tunnel” fill up the frame with the highlights tuned up a bit for a better appeal to the eyes. I hope the image of today achieves what I supposed it to be.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Detached

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The leg fetish week special is this. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

He Who Litters

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The second image for this leg fetish week. Enjoy.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Leg Fetish Week

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Let's make this a leg fetish week starting with a pair of a hairy crab man. I am not going to make an additional tag, so the images will all be under the befitting Philosophical tag. LOL.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

State of Mind

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Wandering in the middle of which is not supposed to be for roaming about, ignoring the obvious sign of direction, could be what the photographer is doing; at least, in his state of mind. Afterall, he had to follow the guy tight to take this shot.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Empty Chair

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Today is the first day of the new school year in Hong Kong. Wishing every young person a good very start!