The weaknesses of your camera MAY help you do better photography

Photography

Taking break

If I could shoot pictures the way I want with a camera that has limited DR, image quality, pixel, tiny sensor, in principle, any digital camera out there isn’t much of an issue.

I always carry this motto with me when I’m out with my GRD. And that in theory helps me to think more about how a photo is going to look, such as the lack of depth of field. Maybe I should anticipate better to isolate the background from subject without any help of the blurred background.

Bamboo Smoke Pipe

Without the extended ISO, maybe I could learn to become a ninja or a spy? Be more steady and quick in low light situation given the noticeably slower shutter speed. Or even try shooting with flash? These are some options we could explore.

Walking down the stairs

With limited options and abilities available on your camera, you often need to think outside the box or figure out the best way to compensate the weaknesses. It stimulates your creativity. It’s good to know MacGuyver had done his job with his tiny swiss knife, So can we. The process of overcoming challenges can be rewarding.

OT

What's going on

Noisy

In pair

Lined up

Attention goes to

You would feel it when you found a camera that belongs to you, and to be your main gear. There’s always a reason. You’d know when you get there. It doesn’t matter if many good photographers trust their red dot lenses, or why street photography should be done with manual lens…If auto focus works really well on your camera, so be it. I learn as I go along, i never knew what fixed focal length would give me until I experienced it. Not because everyone says so. Just like many says 35mm is the most common focal length and used by many pros. You can go try it. Time and time again, you need to do your own judgement of what works best for you. Be rational and true to ourselves.

Outsider

I think it’s simply an awesome experience to start believing in what my camera can do, to an extend believing what myself can do lately. I do hope you’d find this similar feeling down the road.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!! We eat moon cakes and enjoy the bright full moon in Hong Kong. It’s very festive around here and tomorrow is the National Day for Republic of China. Holidays, hooray!

Tseung Kwan O: The New Town and what else.

Photography

Tseung Kwan O

Domino game

Temple in Tseung Kwan O

Dog

Root

Through the net

Waiting to get picked up after school

Escalator

Scooping in the Ice cream cup

This series was shot solely to represent my feelings to the new town development in general. In terms of photography, it’s only an hour of shooting. I don’t expect much but at least a start. I still want to have them posted as of a documentation of my visit to the place.

The population in Hong Kong is outrageously high, everyone knows that. It’s full of high rises in the commercial districts like any cities in the world, such as New York City, Chicago,…When there’s that high population density, where does all everyone lives? We are talking about the increasing population from the new borns, new families, immigrants. It’s a very hot topic these days in Hong Kong as we are running out of developable lands. The only way to deal with it is to build new towns from the rural area of Hong Kong.

Tseung Kwan O area
I was working today at Hang Hau right by Tseung Kwan O, the far east side of the Kowloon Peninsula. It’s a town that’s notorious for land reclamation from junk. The bay by it was named ‘Junk Bay’. It was only a brief 10 mins walk on a few main roads in town. There were already 3 garbage trucks passed by. Like many residents have said, the smell isn’t pleasant.

Tseung Kwan O is a town full of estates and private apartments in high rises. At the bottom of the buildings there’re shopping malls interconnected to each other. I see lots of students live in the area. So that explains many of the residents in the area are new families.

There are several new towns that I have visited. My impression to those new towns are:

  • Tightly packed with tall buildings
  • Monotonous in design (including facilities, layout, community)
  • No point of interests in town.
  • Without a sense of individuality/identity/originality

What’s sucks is that when you go to one new town here, then travel 50 miles to another new town; the towns are virtually identical.

To sum them up, there’s just no reason for anyone to visit the new towns unless there’s something amazing, either beautiful natural landscape still somehow retained, cool festive events, cool recreation destination/park. Shatin was one of the older new towns of Hong Kong which I’d done some shooting a few months ago. There’s a Shing Mun River along Shatin and the new towns near by it. The river IS the attraction, although I believe we could further explore more functions along the river. Such as organizing night markets, doing concerts (mini), even wine events, BBQ festival… anything you name it which people would be interested in coming.

There’s simply nothing going on in the new towns. Perhaps the town community is not powerful enough to organize anything?

In the new towns, all I see is block of buildings. All the layouts are the same, the City Development Bureau is what I believe ‘Copying & Pasting’ . Why all the buildings have to look the same? Why all the public spaces are not fully utilized? Why the newly built flats have the exact same sizes? Can they even try to build a public estate slightly differently? Mathias Woo, an architect/political program host/director have been widely criticizing the government branches on his self-directed TV program. He got his point, and it’s so true that MANY of the citizen got used to the environment they lived in for many years; they just don’t know how to react to the cruel truth. Hong Kong people are thankful to the public housing provided by the government despite the average sq. meter is only 12.9 per person (data obtained from the Housing Authority 2012).

You can see why so many people go out to protest for this and that? There’s no other better things to do AT HOME. And the government seems to be not standing firm on their own policies. I could totally see our government is not fully understanding the public’s concerns and they’re not experienced or capable or even competent in their job positions. That’s explains why they’re always shaky when introducing plans and policies.

I think our government needs help. That’s all. It’s also a common phenomenon here the head or board of government branches are not from actually from the field they’re experienced in. In other words, not the man or woman for the job.

Back to housing, It’s just so darn expensive to own a private apartment. A normal salary just won’t do it.  It’s virtually impossible to do it for many late bloomers. I’m not good with numbers, finance and money management. I just do not have the chip to play the game.

Today marks the end of my actual ‘One month with Ricoh GRD IV’. I think I have been having fun with the 28mm. But I’m still finding my distance, learning how to blend in, approach to subjects with a closer distance. I’m sure I’ve still much to work on with my awareness and quickness. It’d be a lifelong process to learn and perform while on the go. Take it easy!

Update:
I’d continue my stuff with the GRD for a few more months. I just won’t label them as ‘One month with…’

Also, I’ll be spending 5 days in Macao next mid month. It’s a business trip. I believe I’d still be able to find time available at night for photography no matter how tired I’d be. I’ll see how I manage my time. The only thing I concern is, people do not go out at night in Macao. They stay in the casinos.

My moments to remember of the period half a year ago..

Photography

Over the weekend, I hadn’t gone out much, especially on Sunday. Purely lack of motivation…and it was cloudy. That led me going back to my archives to clean up photos. There were just full of shots that I knew what I was capturing but just too random and without a strong focus in them. I scratched my head and asked myself what on earth was i shooting a couple times.

From the archive I cleaned up. I found a photos that I forgot about, looked okay and even more importantly – meaningful to me.

This is not much of a series considering the connectiveness (new vocab?) of them. I narrated them one by one.

Family Portrait
Family Portrait
It was my first asked portrait at night ever. Taken at the end of March in a public estate market. That lovely baby with a napkin was drooling and the loving father was taking care of him. That got my attention and sucked me to them. And the father threw a great smile. So did I, afterwards.

Not a happy customer
Not a happy customer
I walked to Hong Kong University after work (a long walk if look in the map). It was a clear mistake that night as there were not a thing that was interesting. All I saw was old apartment buildings, road, traffic…this was the only shot I was able to keep. I kind of like the look of the girl, she seemed not so satisfied with the frozen yogurt.

Indian Lady in the urban jungle
Indian Lady in the urban jungle
It was taken in April. My first asked portrait with my GRD. That lady had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for her permission. Anyway, she agreed for a shot. The plantation and the urban structure gives it a cool contrast to a lady that’s away from home.

Lady in pouring rain Lady in pouring rain
It was the heaviest rain I’ve ever taken my camera out for a shoot. It was a mistake to not gone home instead. I stayed at where I taken this photo for half an hour before I walked some place else for shelter. In the photo, that’s what happened when nobody else on the street except her – an attractive young lady. She immediately became the center of attention. A couple other guys just couldn’t help but checking her out.

After rain
After rain.
It was a couple trial and error shots of reflection on a pond of water by the street.

The night continues with his music
The night continues with his music
It was my last few photos with maxed out ISO 3200 on my GRD in April. I limited my ISO to 2500, then 1600-2000, until recently at 1250. It really depends on how we’re using it. If the focus is sharp, a photo with maxed out ISO can turn out okay in b&w

Nonetheless, It does give me headache when revisiting back to the archive knowing much of it were crap. I believe it was still great to dig up a few photos that meant to me as part of my photographic journey. It helped me understood/remind what I had done wrong in the past. I only wish to build a much stronger and tighter archive as time goes by. Then I would not be that painful cataloging my images.