Posts made in August 2011

Men at work

August 31, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20110831 Men at work - 1

20110831 Men at work - 2

These photos were taken at Penang in Malaysia. Some people find it very similar to Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s. To me, part of it has that kind of look, especially those old mansions with pillars and all the shops that are located on the ground floor of residential buildings. But how do I know what it looked like in the ‘50s? I wasn’t born yet, indeed. I am not talking nonsense, because I actually saw photos that captured the lives of people in the older days. I am in fact a regular visitor of the Hong Kong Museum of History and I always visit museums when I travel. So you will be able to see the photos that I took in the museums in the blogs that follow.

I have seen rickshaws in Hong Kong some decades ago. As far as I can remember, they were parked at piers, where tourists were around. As you can imagine, only tourists would hire these vehicles for a tour. Here in Penang, rickshaws are everywhere. They charge a bit more than taxis but I think they deserve it because it really takes great strength to pull that thing with two or more people (usually one adult plus one or two kids). And more importantly, the tourists that hire them don’t care about that kind of money.

As the title suggests, pictured here are working people. Their work isn’t easy at all because the weather is really hot. All the days that I spent in this city were sunny and humid. And sunny days pose problems to photographers. If you take pictures at midday, that would be worse. Unless you don’t mind the trouble of using a reflector…but that is out of the question because you don’t have an assistant, right? So what I suggest is to use a flash mounted on your camera. In case the sunlight casts strong shadows on your subject’s face, the fill-in lighting is there to help. Bring along the flash diffuser or card bouncer for softer light. In fact I will talk a bit more on this subject later on.

20110831 Men at work - 3 20110831 Men at work - 4

20110831 Men at work - 5

Equipment Setup

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

Comparing Falcon Eyes Bounce Reflector and Triopo LED Light Panel

August 29, 2011 9:48 am HKT No comments

Alex offers you in-depth review on these powerful gear by leading you through his photo trip in Penang.

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Shooting with the setting sun

August 26, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 1 20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 2

I shot Photos 1 and 2 at around 5:00 in the afternoon. As you can see, the quality of light is different, since I was shooting against the sun in Photo 2 (Photo 3 shows you more of that environment), and the flare had washed off the color of the picture. And for Photo 1, I just took advantage of the setting sun to light the leaves in front of me.

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 3

In the previous blog I said something about shooting during the golden moments — the magic hours. Conventional thinking on this practice, as I mentioned, is to embrace the low front light, or side light, coming from the setting sun (like the looks shown in Photos 4, 5, and 6). Yet many people love the backlit effect of the setting sun and the flare that appears in their picture to the extent that they yearn to have a picture whose color was washed off by this flare. This is the so-called Japanese style of photography. I shot some photos of a girl with this kind of effect the other day, to give it a try (Photos 7 and 8).

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 4

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 5

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 6

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 7 20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 8

Likewise, Photo 2 was taken with the goal of showing the beautifully backlit trees in the late afternoon. As you can imagine, my intention was also to capture the shadows, which were as eye-catching as the backlit trees themselves. I did something similar with Photo 9 and Photo 10 (capturing shadows and flare), which show you what the setting sun can do apart from serving as front/side light. And if you use it as a direct front/side light, the effect may be something like that shown in Photos 4, 5, and 6. The good thing about shooting like this is that the strong light here can enable you to mark a smaller aperture, so that the sky will appear bluer, resulting in a picture with greater contrast.

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 9

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 10

If you are shooting during this hour of the day, do it fast because as you know the sun goes down very quickly. What I actually did that day was follow the crowd (which can be seen again in Photos 4, 5, and 6) to the Hong Kong Stadium where the football matches played by Chelsea, Aston Villa, and some other clubs would be held (Photo 11 shows you one of the spectators at the entrance). I shot some pictures of the crowd from different angles, which were meant to show the difference between backlit and front lit pictures. As you can see, when I arrived at the entrance of the stadium, not too many people there were lit by the sun except a few (Photos 12 and 13), like this man and the security guard pointing his finger somewhere in Photo 12. But the side light here worked well to make these two people stand out from the background. In fact, the way that ambient or artificial light affects your subjects determines the quality of your photo. Here, the warm sunlight created a dramatic picture, so to speak. If these two people were not “hit” by the warm light and instead looked the same as the people in the background, the picture would be less interesting.

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 11

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 12

20110826 Shooting with the setting sun - 13

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5 Photo 6 Photo 7
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Photo 8 Photo 9 Photo 10 Photo 11 Photo 12 Photo 13
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1 1 1

Get the best of light

August 24, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20110824 Get the best of light

Photo 1 and Photo 2 were taken during one late afternoon in the Central District of Hong Kong. These photos have been put in one of my videos recently. The reason for their second appearance here is that the light shed on the subjects of these photos is considered the best, and it is this light that is the theme of this particular blog. On any given sunny day there are certain moments, including the hour after sunrise, that are called the golden moments or the magic hours.

20110824 Get the best of light - 1

20110824 Get the best of light - 2

Not all the photos taken at these magic hours are good though. It depends on how the light is shed on your subjects. The most common advice is to position the sun at your back. That means your subject will be lit by a low front light. In my opinion, side light is as good as front light, as shown by the lighting effect in Photo 1. People in this photo were waiting for the green light to cross the road, while I took the risk of standing somewhere in the middle of the road to find the best angle for the shot.

I like Photo 2 in particular because it looks somewhat like I planned the shot though it was shot by mere chance. All of the people there seemed like they were posing for me and the light looked so artificial. The funny thing is I just happened to capture this “moment” while I was sitting in a tram passing by. It was also a rare scene because the sunlight was like some kind of tungsten light modified by a barn door, narrowing down to an angle that only covered the desired area. This was done “magically” by all those buildings in the neighborhood, which worked well to block a part of the afternoon sunlight.

Equipment Setup

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

New Product Demo: Falcon Eyes Snoot Honeycomb Reflector Set

August 22, 2011 12:09 pm HKT No comments

Alex flew to Penang of Malaysia to test on this new Kit as compared to his favorite handy gear the Triopo LED light panel. Inspiring comparisons on the go…

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