People of Tsim Sha Tsui: Candid Photography – Approaching from the side.


Delivery Bikers chill out
Delivery Bikers chill out

Using a wide lens, the only way to capture a person or a group of people is to walk toward them. I know you can play a few deceptive tricks by acting you’re shooting the background and whatnot. The problem is, many things happen fast in Hong Kong. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re. When a person walked by you on a packed busy street then he/she is gone, it just happened I walked by a TV celebrity Natalie Tong and had no time to react.

There’s a way which I often use. It’s not anything that special. Approaching your subjects from the side with normal pace, have your camera ready and clickkkk. In most cases, the person won’t even realize as it’s happening so fast. And there’re just too many passer-bys on the street to get noticed. The downside is we would only get the side profile of the person. It can be quite two dimensional in the picture sometimes.

roadside stretching exercise
roadside stretching exercise

What I like about this approach, it’s not because I could comfortably get a shot. It’s because it doesn’t consequently change anything the subjects are doing. It’s what candid photography with wide lens is all about. If you could do it from the hip, go for it. I frame my photos with OVF. Many good shots are just too good to be missed.

Hi Mickey, talk to me.
Hi Mickey, talk to me.

Today I found an even quicker way to snap with X100 without the systematic lag. Many of you who uses X100 knows there’s a delay/lag when going from LCD to eye sensored OVF. By switching off the LCD screen and maintaining indications on OVF would clears out the delay/lag. It would help eliminating the eye sensor delay.

Eating cake
Eating cake

This man above was on Nathan Road, packed with so many people. It was so magical that I was able to isolate everybody else.

Taking break
Taking break.

If I duck and shoot, those two men would look for sure. To keep it low key and not to have them realized. Hip shot had to be done.

Not so Hong Kong's Hong Kong
Not so Hong Kong’s Hong Kong

Of course, i also encourage you to do photos that have the person look at you. That look and stare can produce a powerful effect on a photo too. If you’re in a desserted area, you can just go up and ask politely for the shot. I actually had done a photo at night with a father and boy chilling at a dirty market. However, what I say above would change the nature of the photography. You have to know what type of photography you’re onto.

placing horsing racing bets at a mini-bus stop
placing horsing racing bets at a mini-bus stop

I'm a king.
I’m a king.

It's not heavy. You see.
It’s not heavy. You see.

I’m learning photography in my own way by doing field shooting. It’s hard to get anything wrong if i got things done. Plus, as you know there’s not really a right or wrong, only better or worse. The accumulation of experience would help equip us better as I go along. Every photo equals tiny bit of experience. Every failure, reminds me to not to repeat again. Shoot more, try more!

7 thoughts on “People of Tsim Sha Tsui: Candid Photography – Approaching from the side.

  1. Nice photos and hints. I like to swing my camera and grab shots while it goes by so the folks will think I’m shooting something else, but it makes it very difficult to minimize camera movement at the instant I’m shooting, especially under the low light conditions I prefer.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Just don’t be sneaky or anything. Prefocus your camera and bump up your ISO to max at night. Depending upon the light intensity, you should have a shutter speed of 200 or so. You might want to fire flash if it’s very dim.

  2. I really like the atmosphere of Hong Kong in your photos. Hope I can go there someday. I don’t know about the people there, but in Jakarta IMO the people are more suspicious of someone taking photographs… except if I was wearing shorts and looking more like a traveller, then I would be much more welcomed. People are then more curious with me holding a really out-of-dated camera (an Olympus OM2-n) rather than a generic digital camera.

    Colors in Hong Kong sometimes are abit similar to photos from Japan, don’t they? They’re vibrant and contrast and it’s tidy there.

    I really enjoy seeing your photos, thanks.

    1. Film camera is great. People just can’t ask you to delete film photos. Depends in how you approach to people. Just be friendly and you’ll be fine in Hong Kong.

      It’s vibrant in Hong Kong, it’s true. Some places are not as tidy which you rarely find them in my photos. but I guess anywhere in the would happen. Thanks for checking out my photos. Come visit Hong Kong, it won’t disappoint you

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