The Spotlights

Photography

I time and time again found myself end up with pictures that I like at night. Whether It’s the lit up street corner, the ambient light post on a backstreet, the spot light readied shop window on the main street, the dim back illuminated advertising board on bus stop; they all catch my immediate attention just because they all look different during the night. The beauty is pouring all over the city.

It’s always uneasy for me during the day, the fact that I work indoor; I rarely get the chance to enjoy the beautiful sunny days. Everything seems too clear, lack of surprises. When the sun goes down, what seems to be the unwanted dimension is gone. The remaining dimensions have reconfigured by us human.  The man-made lighting environment encourages me to see what’s under the city spotlights. Each tells a story of their own.

Red Socks

Left behind

Seats of their own

Filming Crew

Against the odd

Wishes

The projected scene

Photos of old Hong Kong

The alone time

The alone time

Chopped legs of preserved pigs

Connected with hands

Old Hong Kong in businessThe bulletin

3 Nights in Macau – Episode I: Hit the street

Photography

Through the trees - The plaza of the Liason Office of the Central People's Government

Bus Stop

A fallen sign and a cards of escort service

Rest peacefully

Neon signs

Hide and Seeking

City of Gambling

The New Lisboa Casino from distance

In the kitchen, done for the day.

Hello

Visit the Episode 0 if you haven’t.

I have circled the zones I wished to visit on a map the night before. It’s a matter of time and how I get there. I even circled places in Coloane (far south of Macau), after knowing the taxi fare could be easily over MOP$100; I dropped the plan, as I was very skeptical that it’s so remote there could hardly be anyone. I don’t even know if there’s any taxis on my way back. Perhaps another time…

So I instead walked around the blocks near my hotel. I just counted how many blocks I’ve walked, one way 18 blocks. Perhaps I’ve walked farther in Hong Kong. I’ve never counted. I just kept going. In this case I did, I walked to the other side of the city (actually half way); until I see the water (the Nam Van Lake where the new and old Lisboa Casinos were).

I have never enjoy the neon lights, city skylines, night cityscapes until a Korean girl told me how much she loved them. It was a cold night in Chicago where I drove from Southern Illinois. Perhaps it’s the feeling of getting rewarded after many hours in a car. I never slow myself down to enjoy what’s good in front of me. I’ve learned to stop and enjoy this year. Taking a deep breath at the important landmarks can really ease all my stress.

Nightwatchers

Crossing the street - Portuguese colonial influenced pavement

Security guards

Bus

Reflection from the top

Lisboa Casino

Waiting for bus

Casinos through the shades

At night walking around the blocks of the casinos alone had forced me to be more alert and pay extra attention. I have proved it’s perfectly safe even dangling with my Leica X2.

Besides we share the same Cantonese dialect, everything is so new to me; nothing like in Hong Kong. The buses, people, motorbikes (lots of them), Gran Prix track, casinos, passages between buildings, tunnels…

That’s my first night. It felt great whether I got the photos i want or not. Just me, camera and a completely foreign place. As always feel the place by taking a deep breath!

Episode II coming soon.

3 Days with Fujifilm X100

Photography

I got my seat.
I got my seat

Okay. Back to my honking X100 (finally)!!

I’m not giving my post any particular title as I was really shooting with the X100 for 3 days in few difference locations.

Beautiful hat
Beautiful Hat

I took my X100 out for a couple days. I was shaky and doing many crappy shots on the first day. That’s the sign of not been using it for a long long time. Plus, I was doing shots at night, the f-value was at F3.6-4.5 with zone focusing. Many shots were not as sharp as it turned out. I’m too used to the snap focus on my GRD…

Untitled
Untitled

My shots started to come together on my third day in a busy district of Tsim Sha Tsui. I was adjusting the distance with my focus ring from time to time to get my shots. The focus ring works when you know your distance with the subject. That’s about it. Fuji has to work on their focusing mechanism. Even the new X-Pro1 is suffering the same quirkiness. I could only imagine one day Fuji has a snap focus function like in Ricoh.

Indian Man
Indian Man

I wouldn’t say my creativity is limited by the not-too-fast AF or manual focus for only zone focusing. I would say if you know how camera operates, you’ll appreciate the current features of the X100. It’s more than enough and it works well.

Indian Lady
Indian Lady

I had said before the image effects could be a distraction to your serious photography. I’ll say it again. I’m stuck with the only Astia film simulation. Then run with presets on Aperture 3 to get my images done. Today I modified one of the built-in presets for my X100.

Couple
Couple

The ISO 12800 performance of the X100 is a nice boost to the limit of its sensor. The pixel noise is not so pretty though with JPEG. There’s always repeated noise pattern in the same area. The colors are too washed out. Black and white is the only way to go. I’ll read more about the RAW format. I think it’s something i want to try out in the future.

Cigarette
Cigarette

I took notably less shots with the X100 than the GRD. It’s the size and shiny metal that prevented me to get the candid shots. My only comfort is the LCD screen. It’s the not-so-pro method, by framing with the LCD can often guarantee me the candid shot.  (I was adjusting back to the use of this camera)

Parental Guidance
Parental Guidance

Less is more, I only bring my camera to eye when i see the shot is right. It saves my time selecting photos from my drive.

Cigarette man
Cigarette man

Finally I’ve to admit the clarity of image by Fuji is their strongest point and one important reason why I still own my X100 as much as I love my GRD.

Look that way
Look that way

Funky hat
Funky hat

Cigarette lady
Cigarette lady

Man and a soda
Man and a soda

Bus stop rainy day
Bus stop rainy day

Boy
Boy

After work hangout
After work hangout

Untitled
Untitled

Until my next post with X100. Keep shooting!

Find out more of my recent X100 photography, please also go to the following posts:
The Colorful Hong Kong: 5-6/2012 Collection – Part I
The Colorful Hong Kong: 5-6/2012 Collection – Part II