Posts made in April 2011

The Observer

April 29, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20110429 The Observer - 1&2

Is one type of personality an observer? I have heard of something like that. Being a photographer may imply that you have that kind of personality. I mean if you are inclined toward candid or news photography, that would be close. On the other hand, some like to create their own images, like filling their works with different props and added elements; that would be another kind of personality. And I think the differences can also explain why some filmmakers shoot documentaries while others create fictional films.

One of the best things about Hong Kong is that you can see a different facet of our lives at night. Of course nightlife exists in every city, but here people live their night lives on the streets and you can really see it. So people in this city like to take photographs at night, and so do I; it is the observer’s personality in me.

Observers are also scattered around parks in Hong Kong, be they beggars or retired old men. Frankly speaking, ‘they’ are mostly men, while retired women seem to have their own things to do instead of wandering around the streets at night. So as an observer, I leap at the chance to capture all these observers in parks, night markets, whatever. Here was a guy sitting in the park beside Temple Street (Photo 1), one of the busiest night markets in Hong Kong. I also sat down in the same park watching him and for a long while he was just sitting there staring at nothing. So was the man sitting beside him, who was staring at his own cell phone instead (Photo 2). And curious people just stopped at his side peeking at the cell phone to see his secret. I guessed it was news on horseracing or the like. Anyway, they are all observers, like me.

20110429 The Observer - 1

20110429 The Observer - 2

Shown in Photos 3 and 4 are glimpses of the Temple Street night market. The man keeping his stall in Photo 3 was selling paper cutting artifacts while a woman stopped by to look at an item that interested her. Photo 4 shows you the stall and the famous Mei Do Restaurant in the background, the landmark of Temple Street.

20110429 The Observer - 3

20110429 The Observer - 4

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1

Last light of the sun

April 27, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20110427 Last light of the sun

I always find myself running out of time when shooting landscape photos. It is time consuming waiting for the perfect sunlight and it takes extra effort to take magic hour photos to get the best results. The fact is if you are on a trip in a foreign country, it seems that so many things are there for you to capture, you might worry about missing something along the way. So you end up busily taking pictures on the road but forget about the whole magic hour.

I find it really crucial to remind myself to get ready for the magic hour before it is too late, which means sparing at least 30 to 45 minutes for my magic hour shots. This is because something interesting may come up at the site, which can make beautiful pictures with the magic hour scene.

20110427 Last light of the sun (Final Image)

20110427 Last light of the sun(Trial Photo) - 1

I found this restaurant by chance when I was getting ready for my magic hour landscape shots. As you can imagine, I decided in an instant to shoot the restaurant at the magic hour instead. I tried to capture the contrast between the surreal blue coming from the landscape and skyline background and the warm candle light for that matter. I tried to figure out the best composition for the shot before the sky got too dark to be shot. What you can see here is the result I got (the final image). After the magic hour was gone, you can only shoot photos like the trial photo shown here.

Anyway, it would look better if the sky is a bit brighter. Sometimes it is useful to let the flash help out. I found seaside restaurant the next day but I missed the magic hour. The sky got too dark but I still wanted to make a try. I put my V5-flash at the right to light up the tables (as shown in reference photo 2), yet the sky was too dark so the result was not that good.

20110427 Last light of the sun (Reference Photo) - 1

20110427 Last light of the sun (Reference Photo)_Cactus v5 - 2

Equipment Setup

Final image Trial photo Reference photo 1 Reference photo 2
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1
Flash Cactus KF 36 Manual Flash 1
Flash Transceiver Cactus V5 Wireless Flash Transceiver Duo 1
Light Stand Light Stand 1

Create your photo essay with vivid candid photos

April 26, 2011 12:10 pm HKT No comments

Make your candid photos meaningful by creating a fun and witty photo essay.

Product link

Freaky plants

April 22, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20110422 Freaky plants - Final Image

Some people argue that there are no flowers of a true blue color. Blue flowers are really tones of magenta or violet, many people say. Anyway, now many people favor blue flowers at weddings as well as combinations of blue and white flowers, which look really graceful and romantic.

I shot this photo in the middle of the night when there was absolutely no ambient light in the location. I just wanted to create my blue flower so I did nothing but put my blue-filtered flash to the side of the plant in front of me. It was surreal and weird. I also tried the blue flashlight on the hotels and the porch and these looked so freaky (shown in trial photos 1, 2, and 3).

20110422 Freaky plants (Trial Photo) - 1

20110422 Freaky plants (Trial Photo) - 2

20110422 Freaky plants (Trial Photo) - 3

20110422 Freaky plants - Final Image

20110422 Freaky plants - Setup Photo

Equipment Setup

Final Image Trial Photo 1 Trial Photo 2 Trial Photo 3 Setup Photo
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1 1
Flash Cactus KF 36 Manual Flash 1 1 1 1 1
Flash Trigger Cactus V5 Wireless Flash Transceiver Duo 1 1 1 1 1
Flash Filter Blue 1 1 1 1 1

Rim lighting and self portrait

April 20, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20110420 Rim lighting and self portrait_Cactus v5 - 1

A black background always works. But to make sure it works, create rim lighting. This is another self portrait (photo 1). The flashlight to my left was directed upward and the flashlight at my right (mounted on a studio umbrella in gold/black) was set at eye level. The cool and warm color contrast makes it an interesting picture. The problem here was the focus. So I put the flash so close to me that I could use a smaller aperture (f/9 in this case) for a greater depth of field. I did not use a measuring tape here to check the focus. The only way to make sure my face was in focus was to make a wild-and it turned out-wise guess.

If you only have one flash, it still works. I also put the flash at knee level to light my friend here (photos 2 and 3). The main problem was my friend holding his leg and keeping the fierce expression on his face long enough to get the photo.
20110420 Rim lighting and self portrait_Cactus v5 - 2&3
20110420 Rim lighting and self portrait_Cactus v5 - 1
20110420 Rim lighting and self portrait - Setup Photo

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Setup Photo
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1
Flash Cactus KF 36 Manual Flash 2 1 1
Flash Triggering System Cactus V5 Duo 1.5 1 1
Flash Filter Milky Filter 1 1 1
Others Studio Umbrella in Gold Black 1