Whenever visitors come, we always take them up to Victoria Peak. The views of the harbor are stunning – definitely one of the great city views in the world. Sometimes, I go up by myself as well with the intention of taking some evening photos. This time I got up nice and early, about an hour before sunset. I was shooting with the Sony A6000 and the Sony 10-18 lens (this is a real gem). The first photo below is an exposure blend of 3 photos taken before the city lights came on.
The best photos are ofcourse when the city lights come on. The trick is to not keep it for too late – take the shots when there is still some blue in the sky. The shot below is again an exposure blend of 3 photos.
The feature image of this post, was a single shot taken as a 25 second exposure. I normally don’t do such long exposures here. But this time, there was some very nice movement in the clouds that I wanted to emphasize.
Wanchai is ofcourse one of the classic Hong Kong regions. A blend of the new and the old. A place where everybody is usually rushing around. Grabbing a meal on the walk is pretty normal and acceptable.
The trams are what give Hong Kong Island’s streets a lot of its charm. And, like the tram on the cover image, they are often vibrantly colored, giving the streets a real splash of color. However, on this day, I saw several trams just stationary on the streets with nobody on board. Puzzling. This never happens. As I walked further I discovered that there was a fire raging in one of the old buildings bordering Wanchai and Causeway Bay. People were gathering to observe and ofcourse get some pictures. I resisted the temptation – didn’t want to interfere with the work of the firefighters and police and somehow I just can’t get myself to document the misery of others. Especially, in a case like this where you don’t have a more “noble” objective such as highlighting some trouble to gather public support. So I moved on and called it a day.
No matter how many photos I take of the Hong Kong skyline, I never get bored. Its just a sensational view. I recently had to help my daughter take a timelapse for a school project. We used a friend’s balcony (nice view!). The cover photo here is an exposure blend of 3 photos taken during the 90 minute shoot. The next one is a single exposure (jpg), processed in Lightroom and ON1 Photo Effects 10.
The public transport photo in one of my previous blog posts was taken from the pedestrian flyover pictured above. This spot is also a nice spot from where to take photos of vehicles as they round the curves. But what looks interesting to the eye often comes out as dull and boring in camera. But sometimes, when there’s a splash of red, things do come out slightly more interesting.
I have been near this location in Causeway Bay so many times. But had never come to this particular street. Stumbled upon this rather cool urban “artwork” yesterday. I wish Hong Kong did more stuff like this.
I really like walking the streets of HK. There’s so much to see. Causeway Bay is a wonderful place for this but only if the weather is nice – in summers the place is suffocating because of the crowds. This photo was taken yesterday from one of the pedestrian flyovers. On day walks, I will usually carry a film camera. However, yesterday I was going late in the afternoon and it was cloudy and threatening rain. So I grabbed the Leica MP with the 35 Lux. What attracted me to the scene was the number of buses and trams which appeared on the scene at the same time. They almost form leading lines drawing the eyes deeper into the scene. And one great thing about commercialism – the colors on some of the vehicles are brilliant!
In a prior post, I had posted some photos taken with a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder at a fair that had come to Hong Kong. I had also taken a Mamiya 7ii medium format film camera with a Mamiya 7N 80mm f/4L. This is an absolutely amazing camera – 6×7 medium format, yet very portable (as far as cameras of this ilk go). Like all medium format film photography, its a bit expensive to use given only 10 exposures can be made from a 120 roll of film.
But there’s something about the results derived from this camera and its lenses that is just very very pleasing. The sharpness, pop, contrast and smoothness of bokeh is something just not possible from any 35mm camera. And the Mamiya 6 or 7 are right up there with the best medium format cameras ever made. Like all tools, the results really depend on the artist and I would not recommend this to any beginner. Its just too expensive a way to learn. Learn film photography with a 35mm camera.
These photos were really just snapshots and my first real experience with this camera since I bought it. But now, I feel confident to use this on a more regular basis. All these photos were shot on the Fuji Pro 160 NS color negative film, which is brilliant. It may not be as accurate as the Kodak Portra 160 but its not wild and I prefer the vibrancy of the Fuji Pro 160 NS to the more neutral portra.
I love shooting with film! There is a certain charm to the photos that’s hard to describe but you know its just there. Add to that the fact that there’s no way of reviewing the photos and one can only see the photos a few days or sometimes even weeks later. The whole surprise factor adds that special something.
I bought the Zeiss Ikon some time back. The first roll was a disaster because I did not know how to load it properly. My only previous experience with film cameras was the Contax G2. And in the Contax you don’t need to slot the film into the spool, just around it. Did not realise that loading the Zeiss Ikon was like loading medium format cameras. This happened a couple of time and so I got kind of frustrated and put it away. Returned to it a few weeks back and loaded some inexpensive Kodak Gold 400 film in it.
Now, to my eyes, there is no such thing as poor film. Yet, I was not expecting this film to be all that nice. But I was really quite pleasantly surprised. The colors are quite vivid and contrast is pretty good. To get the best contrast I rated the film for 200 when I shot (much easier to to pull highlights from film in Lightroom) than push shadows.
I used the Zeiss Biogon 35mm f2 lens for Leica M mount cameras. It’s such a wonderful lens. While, I love my Leica 35 Summilux ASPH, I think the Zeiss does have slightly higher contrast and pop.
So, how did I find the Zeiss Ikon? In a nutshell, wonderful! I bought it because I really did not want to spend a lot more on a Leica M6 or M7 and a few reviews said that the Zeiss was just as good. I still have not used either the M6 or M7, so cannot comment on those but the Zeiss is very good. The rangefinder patch for focusing could perhaps be slightly better defined. In very bright light or in darker conditions with low contrast, I sometimes struggle nailing focus but in general it works out ok and its probably my own inexperience.
The shots above are really more like snapshots since I was just trying to make sure that the camera works! I am now looking forward to loading some more film in the camera and go out and try to make some better photos.
Holi has got to be the most fun festival in the world. It’s such a blast for the whole family. It is always a bit of a toss up with the weather – unlike India, it does not fully warm up here. But today even though the day began cool, by mid-day the sun was out and made it perfect for a wet Holi. We joined a Holi party being organised at Chung Hom Kok beach. It was quite something and there were almost 2,000 people there. I had taken the Olympus TG-3. I did think about a fancier camera but haven taken those in earlier years, this year I wanted to get in the middle of the action without any real worries. So the TG-3, which is waterproof was perfect for the job.
I was quite amazed by the quality of the photos – all taken in iAuto mode. Ofcourse, there’s a certain amount of post processing but its all standard Lightroom stuff. Total time for 50+ photos? Less than 15 minutes! And that included selecting the 50 from over 150 photos to begin with.