Walking Wanchai

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.

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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.

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Visiting a community school in Mumbai, India

We had gone to India for our summer vacation this year. While in Mumbai, we visited a school for relatively underprivileged kids, where one of our friends volunteered. It was a wonderful yet humbling experience. These kids have relatively little but they were so cheerful and the joy on their faces was just infectious!

I had not taken any digital camera on this vacation. These shots were all taken with the Contax G2, Fuji Superia 400 (first time I used this and I really liked it), the Carl Zeiss 28 f2.8 and 50 f2 lenses and the Contax TLA-200 flash.

In Mumbai, India

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We had organised some snacks for the kids and a drawing/ art competition with some small prizes thrown in. The kids were delighted and had so much fun. Our children had also come along and I hope they got something from the experience.

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In Mumbai, India

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Causeway Bay, Leica and the power of red!

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.

Hong Kong Public transport

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!

Mamiya 7ii at the fair

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.

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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.

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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.

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Hong Kong harbourfront – Leica

I’m not quite sure what to make of the new harbour front in Hong Kong. While I miss the larger harbour, I do appreciate the walking areas and the event space, which seems to be hosting some really good stuff nowadays.

This photo was taken yesterday (14 Mar 2015) with a Leica MP (Type 240) and the Voigtlander 21 mm color skopar. It was deliberately underexposed and then post-processed in Lightroom using Gary Tyson’s Polaroid Colour preset and finished with some dodging/ burning and some added grain.

Hong Kong Streets

Hong Kong’s streets are great to generally wander about taking photos. ┬áMarch is a particularly nice time because its not so hot and humid and yet the cold of Dec/ Jan has lifted.

Lately, I’ve been using the Leica MP (Type 240) on my walkabouts. Coupled with the 35mm Summilux, its a great combination. The above photo was taken in Central, just opposite Fringe Club. The photo also brings up an interesting topic – on sharpness and grain. This photo is far from sharp, its actually quite blurry because of the slow shutter speed (1/15 sec). But that was a deliberate decision in order to create the right atmosphere. I think this photo would have looked quite boring as a super sharp image and without the car behind. Likewise, the grain adds to the atmosphere of the night photo.

The two photos below, were taken in Causeway Bay, on a Saturday afternoon. Probably amongst the busiest locations in HK at its busiest of times. I have seen this guy several times at the same location. And doing the same thing – holding an advertising board and busy with his phone.

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

I have no idea who this character is! But its quite impactful and there were obviously hordes of people taking selfies and photos with it.

Who is this?  - Causeway Bay, Hong Kong