1. 36 Exposures

    Years after years, it’s only a few short years I got involved more into photography. I feel sick to see all the more-or-less-the-same cameras out in the market. To be rational, there’re differences in terms of image processors, lens, mechanisms. But as it winds down, image is what photographers’ after. I can say the image quality is superb with all the compact mirrorless out there, but NONE of them have their own personality. It’s one reason I’d not been actively shooting with the X2, and only been fumbling with the GRD and phone; for family portraits as well as some odd company events on more than one occasions. I do not know about how others feel but results were simply what I loved about. I wish to have them printed out for the family I photographed for.

    The essence of photography is ever-evolving, each of us have our own interpretation in the ways doing it. Nothing can be terribly wrong, nothing can be terribly right. I thought I’d continue to only run up to people for portrait type of unasked photography a year ago. Until last year I got pickier and specific on what I wish my photographs to be. The harder I try, not necessarily the better images I’d get in return. My limited experience guides me when the opportunity appears, I’d chase after it.

    Maybe it’s the physical print that makes it tangible, maybe it’s the little wait that worth waiting, maybe it’s the absolute uncertainty, or maybe I just haven’t get my hands on it yet. Last time I remember I shoot film was my Freshman year in college, 13 years ago. It was an Olympus auto compact, a Chinese New Year gift given by my late uncle. Developing those film would take me a 15min ride to a Wal-Mart out of town. I did not feel it as a hassle and sharing moments with friends from the prints was priceless. It was even an excuse to go out of town with friends.

    Digital is excellent for those who wish to take control of your own fate on every step you take which I still believe in. Technology may aid photographers in many ways technically speaking. On the other hand analogue strips away all the distraction away from you such as the LCD, auto sleep, auto off. It’s how I use my X2 with just the finder, shutter speed, aperture, focus wheel and the shutter release. I really thought that was the answer to go as close to analogue as I could with a digital. It’s not until I played with an Instax camera that pops instant film, although I thought it’s too automatic’ish and only one type of film is available. The size is all limited. Not much of detail to speak of. Since then I deliberately wanted an analogue camera. And honestly I slowed down my photography just to reflect my inner self what exactly I’m after. After months of mobile photography, I figured it’s the way to go. It may not be as ready as a conventional camera but it sure enters my life a lot easier. It’s what has been missing the whole time.

    I’d put analogue as the uncharted territory to me. I wished to take a leap onto this community by experiencing it myself. I always believe in ‘learn by doing’. The concern I have is really just the camera, how would I not get a defected one? How would I not get ripped off on the used market. I wouldn’t know what to test on, camera flaws that can’t be updated with a firmware file. Then suddenly Lomography came to my mind, I was skeptical knowing they only make toy cams. I thought I was out of my mind too. Then later I realized they do not label their cameras as toy cam. They call those as analogue. That was the time I learned about the long-lived Lomo LC-A.

    It’s full frame, feels solid in hand, compact, light, and best of all it’s brand new. Controls are so minimal with just a zone focus lever that covers 0.8m, 1.5m, 3m and ∞.  What more I love about is, it won’t shut down from idling like all digital, making it always ready (I felt like a relieve). The only complain is the red LEDs (that act as indication) sparks up thru both side of the viewfinder whenever the shutter hits. I loaded it with a roll of just expired Fuji Natura 1600. And I have no idea what the results would be until I finished the roll, which may take a month possibly.

    Has anything changed? Not really, I think I was long ready for it.

     

  2. In the Wheel
    To a place that’s so familiar with, walk by daily, can be a tough job to use as the photographic material. Even to a point reminds me of a rat running the wheel

    It does sound dreadful when think of a person’s excitement level is always bouncing between the bottom and middle, to bounce up to the top or to be extremely happy and satisfied would require anything out of ordinary. Experiencing new things would keep life interesting. Experience more, see more can at least guarantee to carry out new insights in life. That’s when the interesting images come in.

    The summer heat hasn’t been easy on just about anyone. A simple walk around the town has become a simple pass by the mall, for the generous air conditioning. Just like what others would do, people tend to stay indoor and spend their off time comfortably. However, seeing a similar group of people performing the same activities do not necessarily imply to the entire population. Plenty of outgoing folks prefer staying outdoor visiting the nature. Meanwhile I question myself quite a few times already: how on earth did I complete my last project almost the same time last year? It’s a little test of my perseverance, just like going for an adventure only without any danger. And from that I understood everyone has their own way of defining their good times, much like the flip side of a coin. As the heat becomes less intense eventually, I long to see the nature part of Hong Kong again.

     

  3. East Meets West
    Last week, I was walking my usual path to the park after lunch. I saw a person stretching from distance on a sunny day and I was immediately intrigued by his pose. I thought I should really check it out. This nice gentleman Chris, who travels around the world and he’s currently living in Hong Kong. We started chatting as he also enjoy photography, and he practices martial art. He’s amazed by how small Hong Kong is. I explained size does not matter, it’s got everything. Just look at our neighbor Macao. Hong Kong is fortunate enough to have a decent mix of foreign population. Recalling how I used to worry about how the foreigners would think about Hong Kong after the Handover, would at least half of the Westerners go back to their homes? It was really never the case as long as the foreign firms invite them to work here and there’s social gathering spots/activities. It’s essential based on my previous experience in the US, as long as you’re not in any crisis such as running out of job or bored to death; given the circumstances one could live away from home for many years. There was an article on the South China Morning Post I read last week, reported on the life of a few working holiday visa holders in Hong Kong. We, the locals often think about working visas to places like Europe, Australia…It’s interesting to hear Hong Kong as one of those working visa locations on the flip side. And just by reading the article, clearly the Koreans and French enjoy their lives here because of the modern metropolitan image contrast with the Chinese tradition (more on the Cantonese tradition though I believe) and the size of their native community here. Seeing how adaptive others are, it made me realize how many of us complain more than adapt. Being the locals, if we can’t even adapt how do we speak of survival? Jump out of our little greenhouses and start making a difference.

     

  4. Between Hong Kong and China

    Hong Kong was once the British Colony. For better or worse, the British governance and the hard working DNA of the Hong Kong people had made this place special. For those who were born before the Handover would know that the political friction between parties was never like what we’re seeing now. The definition of Colony was never an ugly word for most people here. We took it granted to the greatest level. And the fact is that Hong Kong was never governed by a Governor. They had a full team working off-shore back in the Great Britain to support the all the previous governors (as far as I heard from some professor on TV). Right after the handover, there’s never a back up team to support the highest leader ‘Chief Executive’. We are on our own so to speak. We make our own fate. The future is on our own or there isn’t.

    The national anthems were played on both nations before the the World Cup matches begin. Players, coaches, and the audience sang on top of their lungs for their nations. What does the national anthem mean to their people? Just to see from the sport event perspective, it shows how loyal you’re to the country. You were born under the nation and you represent the nation. The Chilean and Brazilian national anthem were the two amongst memorable ones. They sounded like battle chants to me, really drew the adrenaline for everyone.

    While China to us is like our original parents (Britain as our foster parents), it’s a bittersweet thing between us and the Mainland. Whether we like it or not, we do not get to choose. They’re still undergoing development, not as civilized in most part of the country but they got lots of world achievements such as hosting the Olympics, World Expo…What’s more is that, It’s still a communist country, the undeniable cultural shock. We just don’t know them very well, or we don’t want to know. Think of the Britain was our good foster parents and had been thru the worst in history with us. Hong Kong now wishes to live like an adult. Hong Kong is not rebellious, we just want to become an adult. It’s unfortunate that both Hong Kong and China are not acting like a family.

     

  5. Do Us Proud
    June 2014 last month was recorded as the hottest June since 1884. Staying outdoor during the day is not an easy task for many. The only way to stay active besides paying for premium membership to hit the gym is really to jog around in town whenever possible, although I tend to exercise some whenever I could at home. Being out and see as far as our sight could see is the simple most rewarding part. Most people are just too busy in town as much as I could see. Staying busy is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just my personal trait to see what others do. Seeing what’s happening around me give me a clearer perspective of how the city is changing in certain ways. Although my perspective is limited to the city I live in now, it’s still a very good source of knowing how and where my root is shaping toward.

    I could see the Hong Kong people are desperately longing for general entertainment. Just see and hear who’s not talking about the World Cup Brazil. How Louie Van Gaal and Tim Krul became the national heroes, almost as if we’re the Dutch. How Lionel Messi leads the Argentines to the quarterfinals and more. Hong Kong is historically weak in all type of sports. See how much a sport events can bring entertainment to people. It’s something fans would look forward to or even worship to. We just do not have a very well established sport system to manufacture athletes which draws fans to fancy on. It can be a sophisticated business after all. Just see how crazy the fans are for the English Premier League, NBA,…It’s a great opportunity to hang out with friends even away from the venue. It brings people together.

    Another observation is how many people had flocked into one place when there’s cute art, remember the giant rubber duck on the Harbor and recently the 1000 Panda Exhibition tour (for those in HK would know). General people like us got little cheap entertainment around town, I honestly believe a better downtown city park, a zoo, anything revolutionary would make us Hong Kong people proud of. Yes, I’m drooling over the Garden by the Bay in Singapore. Hong Kong has to build something like these fast. These facilities can relieve stress or even vent. Hong Kong has many world class country parks and trail walking are great; however not everyone’s cup of tea.

    Just see how many of us give a crap about the Hong Kong SAR Establishment Day or I prefer calling it the ‘Commemoration Day of Handover’. I’ve seen what the Americans do on their 4th of July (Independence Day), they show patriotism in their hearts. Nothing I’ve ever seen. I was born during the year of Sino-British Joint Declaration. I honestly do not care which flag it raises, China, Hong Kong, the Great Britain. When people ask where am I from? My answer is always ‘Hong Kong. I’m Chinese but not from China.’ Most foreigners do not get it, but it means a great deal for us.

     

  6. A Piece of Tool Being a dedicated user of Aperture as my photo processing tool, hearing the discontinued news made me disappointed in Apple. It’s their business decision I understand. They just can’t ignore some of us out there wish to use a less complicated alternative software. It left me almost no option at all but to switch, eventually. It’s interesting how film had started photography. Although digital has become the majority changing the way we treat photography, we can’t deny that the non-commercial photography is still heavily relying on the film emulation. It’s also the fun part. I think it’ll forever go hand in hand when speaking of photograph and film, no matter your darkroom is on a screen or in your bathroom. That’s when VSCO comes in. They have made legacy film names back to life again, sort of. The mobile version of their product VSCO Cam produces something similar but in a simpler manner. It’s nothing new when you compare it to other similar apps. The way how photographers get involved in their community had made their stand. All of a sudden, you won’t treat their presets as just another vintage simulation. What moved me the most is how others photographers make use of what VSCO have produced. It’s advisable that the equation remains the same, there just won’t be no good photographs if the photograph itself is bad. No matter what preset you apply on, it’s still the same. It had been changing my way of processing photos ever since it arrives on Android. So far, I only use one preset to maintain consistency. It also keeps me from thinking way over my head.

     

  7. Past in the Present

    The fire in me is almost extinguished.. A sign of not trying hard enough or effort is not well spent in the right place. It led me nowhere. I’m grounded at home so to speak. It’s another gathering of odd photos from my secondary camera and hard drive. They did not make any sense until I have a few more and more. The accumulation of a few odd images actually had turned into something I like. However, they were many other just never work no matter how I arrange and process them. They have to go into trash. Speaking of trash, it’s always a topic of debate when I walk by a recycle collection bin. I tend to sort out most of my trash when it’s possibly done, such as the common plastic, paper packaging. The idea of putting the sorted recyclable trash into the bins is to create less waste. I think the recycle collection point on the streets are amateur. It’s horribly designed, heavy (made of steel), not practical in real life, low in volume, ugly, and fugly. Alright, they all seem far too subjective right. The function behind this is to encourage the public to use it wisely. What if one day you realized the garbage workers treat them just like any other garbage or even worse the sorted waste got nowhere to go because there’s no such recycle business exist or they simply went out of business. Last time I heard few months ago was due to the lack of value in both Hong Kong and China. Many sorted plastic waste has been dumping to the landfill. It led me thinking what’s the point of the recycling campaign. My dad and I often debate on this issue for a few years now. We did again today. What the hell is going on? The government is pushing for the expansion of landfills which will reach its full capacity in 5 years, the expected fierce confrontation is going on. Their solution is really not to keep pushing for policies. They need to ‘wow’ the crowd and give the involved party incentives. Years ago who knows Samsung would out sell Apple’s iPhones. To us and even many political critiques feel that the government is functioning too bureaucratic, stubborn, rigid and outdated. Well, we cannot worry too much. Why not just open a bottle a wine and enjoy what’s on your plate, right? These photographs remind me of the what I’ve done 2 years ago when I dedicated using a single camera. Ironically, many do not look anything like in the past; they are looking somewhat I do up to this day. Just like a mixture of my X2 and mobile phone. It’s precisely what drew my interest of them.

     

  8. On and Done
    It came to me that the heat and laziness (the most part) are setting more road blocks to my photography. I get reasonably tanned from my 20 mins jog after lunch. At least I’m still jogging to stay healthier really. And then there’s the World Cup Brazil 2014 going on, I like cheering on the teams I support in front of my TV on mid-nights. But then the TV network (the one and only free one) broadcasts only 22 games out of 64. A worldwide sports event, not so for the poorer crowd here. That all sums up to fewer and fewer of workable images also raised my concern since my last couple of weeks (posts) already. It’s a major set back, but I still think that it’s a very good experience to actually deal with something I will encounter down the road.

    I’m human after all, I just want to live my life easier during this hot summer. To casually slip out a phone out of a pocket, camera app with no-brainer auto mode, a few touches and swipes, it’s on and done. The rest is history. Knowing with heart and patience, every photographs counts no matter how it’s shot with, what it’s shot with. I’m still living my life, experiencing in the city; only in a slightly different way.

     

  9. Second Chance
    Sometimes I just do not get why viewers have common interest on certain photos. Some that I believe they’re great and turn out to be just average ones; some that I believe that are so-so, turned out to be the unique ones. I still never thought I’d ever misjudged my photograph selections. I stand really firm on what I’ve picked and I never look back again. It just happened I’m slightly bit preoccupied by my life happenings. I left my camera in my bag and hardly ever take it out. I should really spend more time to at least hang out with my camera even without getting any, it’s the least I could do. Anyhow, I shot so few these days I barely notice I had any photographs. I have gone back to my archive and have another look at some photographs that were either disqualified for my previous posts or simply not fitting very well on the theme or essay. I picked out a few and reprocessed them. Do you think they’re worthy for another chance? Two of which actually came from this week.

     

  10. Go Dragon, Go Paddle!

    Not everyone could join a traditional event like many of those fire dragon dance, bun festival I’ve visited before. But participating or to witness an event can be just as fun when we are just this close. I’ll get to that. It’s my first time going to the Stanley Dragon Boat Race. The bus ride to Stanley (the south side of Hong Kong Island) was already a beautiful journey already. You get to see the spectacular bay area from all elevations. The route to Stanley passes by two important natural beaches of Hong Kong, the Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay. It reminded again I was always on the other side of the island the whole time. The bus ride took about 30 mins + depended upon the traffic. On that special day, too many double deckers went in and out of the narrow mountain pass, causing the traffic to stop many times just to yield the opposite traffic to come through. I tell you, on a summer day like this hot isn’t a bad idea at all.

    My McDonald’s meal kept in a sack since eating and drinking is not allowed on public transport. I was mumbling the whole way, but I was glad I did not finish. I rarely have car sick, that day I had a little. It took me 10-15 minutes to settle. The burger in my hand was unfortunately wasted, two tiny bites and it’s in the trash. It’s steamy, hot and salty everywhere. I did not want to think about anything but fluid. The sun was burning up high. My best shelter was to stand by people’s shadow. Luckily, there were plenty. If it’s the most crowded day on a beach, it has to be this day. The beach was swamped with athletes and spectators. It was more like a beach party more than a sport events to be honest. Visitors could hard see the race or tell who’s leading or behind due to the direction of the race track (toward the beach). Good news was we all could go as near as touching the boat or even sit on it. It’s what’s unique about this event.

    I arrived there with my sister. The moment we stepped on the beach, we did not see each other. If there weren’t any sun tan, we don’t call it Stanley. And that was precisely the time to go for a Snapple Peach Tea and head home.