For a few reasons I recently took a 3 days trip to Hong Kong (H.K.S.A.R.), on my own. I truly like the place and its numerous landmarks. Unfortunately, I did not take as many picture as I would have liked but anyway, a couple of shots did not hurt ; to my standards, some of them turned out nicely.
Photographically speaking, Hong Kong is a haven for me: great range of photo supplies (see Wing Shing Photo Supplies for example), some of the best prices tags in the world and a bustling, amazingly safe city. In some other places I would not be very confident carrying my US$ 3k+ camera bag. In Hong Kong, nothing to worry about and nights are great time to go around snapping the city life and indeed, its architecture.
The extensive, convenient and efficient MTR (= subway) network allows to go to places. I mainly used the Central station and barely left Hong Kong Island. Not that I have something against Kowloon ; just had neither sufficient time nor sufficient needs.
Hong Kong has many facets. Not the least being the lively streets. You simply cannot go around and find the same thing unless you are looking at shopping malls. Pretty much like any other Asian place, some of the streets showcase only one type of goods. Further, looking up in Hong Kong is a pleonasm; there is no way to avoid feeling short (someone told me there are over 8,000 buildings of 36-storeys or more in the S.A.R.) and vivid, competing neon signs are never far away from your sight.
Telecommunications in Hong Kong are exemplary. Ok, admittedly, the country is quite small and the density helps a lot. The Internet at the hotel worked great and at a very pleasing speed, though for an outrageous price. Cell phones communications are very cheap I believe and there are more than enough options to choose from. Somehow I got the feeling that most of Hong Kong inhabitants has several phone numbers…
When I first went to Hong Kong, a few years ago, I left with the feeling of a city split in two, geographically (the Victoria Harbour works as a natural division) but also culturally. At that time, the Northern part (from what I saw in Kowloon) felt a lot more Chinese than Hong Kong Island, for which I had a very Western perception. Now, it seems to me the distinctive cultures are blending. It is Chinese most of the way. In many cases, you would have no clue what you are having for dinner as English translation become scarce (unless you can afford HK$ 200 meals all the time or love Mc Donalds’ this much). Fair enough, it is no British territory anymore after all…
I have also noticed more and more old buildings (at least on the island) are being renovated. I remember the huge contrast between some buildings sitting right next to each other. Obviously, there are no crappy buildings in Central. Taking pictures of the buildings showed me a skill I need to acquire quickly if I am to go back to Hong Kong: perspective correction. It is very easy to spend your time looking up shooting reflections – particularly at sunset time -, 100 meters long stretches of windows, etc. and get untrue perspectives.
If this is not your first visit to this blog, you are most likely aware I am a happy Canon 7D owner. I tried a few shots at 6400 ISO, like the one below. The grain is pretty visible even at a low resolution. I must say that to me it still look ‘useable’. The grain is not reddish or greenish colored like it used to be on older dSLR bodies. Note this particular shot was not corrected at all in terms of noise level. (Obviously other processing took place)
Something really important is notes. I knew I would take the below shot 2 days before it actually took place. When I landed in Central the first day, I noticed the reflection of the Jardine House in the JP Morgan building. The light was not great so I opened my notebook (a “Moleskine City Guide” for the curious readers out there) and under the home-made tab ‘Photo Sites’ I noted the location, and what I supposed would be a better time to shoot it. Two days later I remembered it and took the shot. Not that this is a great shot but for some reasons, I have a special feel for the Jardine House building (if you are lucky in late April you would know why) and wanted to get this reflection shot.
Finally, a quick picture of the hotel I stayed. A very convenient location and awesome in-room technologies. Anyway, there is something special about that one too and I actually used this shot to work on my LightRoom skills, starting to create my own development settings, the below behind scientifically called the “City – Cold Blue/Yellow v2 (no Auto Tone)” preset.