Monday, February 28, 2011

Little big flower

Supposed to look for some insect but HK is now a bit too clean (maybe). No ant, no mosquito, no cockroach. Too much 1/99 bleach probably. Feel a bit disappointed from this 1st outdoor self-learning macro class. Will need to go to some outer islands for some luck. :) Then I tried shooting a very tiny flower (about 1cm wide). So focusing, distance, aperture and shutter speed are all very important with this 100mm F2.8L lens. Some other factors should be counted like sunny day light, wind and the background. Failed quite some photos due to strong wind in the park. This one barely passed to me as I like the color and the composition, but at least it's good to see the power of this macro lens. #1 see how the tiny buds. the tiny stems look invisible due to the DOF on macro though it's F5.6 (at 1/320 ISO500). I recall reading the Canon lens handbook about the use of the shallowest DOF to make a cage fence invisible on shooting a tiger in a cage. Will try that out some time later.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Macro water world - flow and bubbles

Brought my 100mm F2.8L macro lens for some practises. I passed by the water stream outside Island East. I changed it to the large size of photo taking. As I went thru' each part of the photos, I enlarged it and found out a nice macro world.
#1. this is water reflection of the Tai koo shing behind me.
#2. original photo and the #1 part is on the right end middle.
#3. bubbles got frozen in 1/350 second.
#4 original photo and the #1 part is right in the center middle.

It never rains in Southern California

My friend (a pianist) told me the song "It never rains in Southern California" (written and sung by Albert Hammond) was originally "It never rains in Indianapolis". I didn't check further with some other sources. Simply in my mind I don't find the rhythmic sound right with "Indianapolis". There should be some story for my friend with his home town - Indianapolis.
He has spent over 50 years in Palm Springs, Southern California. A happy guy. A professional pianist. A devoted artistic typist - yes, he cared so much with his typewriter and insist to type instead of using a computer. He served in the Korean war (in the 50's) for typing to deliver accurate messages for the American navy. He kept on sending me typed letters. Not a single word of correction until the last one he fell. He made some typo error. He stopped typing. He went to a retirement home in Palm Springs.
In February, 2006, I went to see him together with some other good friends. Spent just 3 days there without stopping by LA for the first time. On the last day, that late afternoon, I was at the parking lot at Walmart. A layer of rainy cloud was on the Mount San Jacinto. It told LA was raining already. This was the last scene I saw Palm Springs. All along the way to LAX, it rained heavy as something in an attempt to washing out my last memory. It didn't.
The rain actually brought him away on a flight long delayed for 5 years to Feb. 2011. Got on board a 747, with your beloved dog Jake, flying out of Southern California. Flying out of Indianapolis.

Hitting the little men & the Chinese seasonal marks 打小人與中國二十四氣節

The area under the fly over of Canal Road 堅拿道 (or commonly known as Gooseneck bridge 鵝頸橋) was very dark and somehow dark enough for some discreet business. It has been for long a place where someone were commissioned to hit some hated persons. Originally this behaviour is to prevent oneself from not being infected from the virus getting active out of the Spring break - 驚螯 (active waking up of the worms and virus...etc.). Later on, this prevention from being sick evolved to be prevention from being attacked. Furthermore, being attacked has turned into attacking, or later on as something radical as black magic.

The business once almost faded but things often run in cycles. It comes back and even with more public and Government's attention. There it goes a new face for this place with all the colorful Chinese ancient 24 seasonal climatic indications such as "Little Snow" on the left pillar. I would somehow prefer this way for people to go back and look into these ancient Chinese climate indications. Slowly we should turn back this "hit the little men" into "Take care of myself first. Naturally I will live safe and sound. No need to be worried if I would be attacked or not.". wishful thinking.

Into the Blue Night

Took all these photos like I was using a twin lens camera (at a lower angle and some even close to the ground) but the difference is on my personal judgement on the angle as I didn't use the view finder or the LCD display. #5, I was a bit nervous as I needed to take this bus. Pretty fun though.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Love....

Saw these cute bears on the top of a florist. As I didn't have a zoom lens, I cropped the photo. At first I tried to have the "I Love You" in whole to show, but the light (though filtered) was a bit too distracting and yet the "I Love You" sign is a bit big. So I decided to cut out the "you". This is what I wanna show how I took the shallow light in between the 2 bears. I also tried to take it at the best angle in not having any of that direct lamp light from behind. Then I reduced the clarity by 85% and -20% on vibrance, but +15% on saturation. This came out pretty dreamy and foamy too. #photo 2 is the original one on how it is.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grappa's Millennio, Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay HK

The last time I tried Grappa's was probably at the time when they first got in Pacific Place or at the same time Pacific Place was built. I guess I passed by this Grappa's over ten thousand times (yes, 365 x 11 years at least x 0.8), I never gave it a try. The name of the shop has been changed with one more word Millennio. It's basically targeted to the design fields of this business areas. Had all day meetings around this area and finally suggested my business fellow try this one. We took a lunch set menu at HK$158 for the roasted chicken with salad with an extra of HK$20 for a cheese cake. Quality is not bad and service is good too. The salad is quite impressive to me as they used some imported fresh veggie and nice balsamic vinegar. Pretty nice cheese cake and cappuccino. One more thing the roasted chicken isn't with any sauce. I really like it and it's not that dry inside. Actually having no sauce in it is to tell you how good the chicken itself when it's a nice chicken. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

report on my photo testing on a wedding

The first time for me to carry a bag of camera stuff including 3 lens (50mm F1.4, 17-40mm F4L, 70-200mm F4L), one flash and the camera with a handgrip. After 3 hour of non-stop shooting, I found out I should have some stretching with my wrist. Well, my brief report would be:
1. two cameras are needed for one wide angle and one zoom. Both cameras should be on some very fast response.
2. check on the ceiling if there are any irregular shape mirror on the bouncing flash (see below photo 3. Some interesting cross lighting was created, but not interesting on standard wedding portrait photos.). In that case, a diffuser is needed for the flash. A powerful flash too. On some far zooming situation, take off the diffuser.
3. use a single spot for the metering as the auto 9 point or more AF would be a bit distracting.
4. Try to shoot the guests more. I shot a bit too many on the bride and bridegroom.
5. As there will be some hired prof. camera and video men, try to shoot the photos when it's counted at 1. At 2, the subject persons would blink their eyes at 3. So at 1, as they blink at 2, then at 3, they would open up their eyes for the professional camera man to take it.
*will check for the consent on posting some more portrait photos later.

Pacific Place HK

Fashionable under-construction partition display at Pacific Place HK.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our shared Garden

On an corner at the hillside in Cheung Sha Wan, there it is my most favourite (or every HK locals') bread/cake and cracker/biscuit maker. 生命麵包,時時食,忌廉賓, 孖寶蛋糕.... Making our breakfast and snack time very filling.

Cheung Sha Wan to Sham Shui Po

In taking some photos today, found out this city has never taken a rest.

Electrified on Eastern corridor

It was a rainy night. I took my d-lux 3 for some long exposure shots on an upper deck bus.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

From Sham Shui Po to Tin Shui Wai in 3 hours

In order to practise more on using the 70-200mm F4L lens, I went to Sham Shui Po and checked around for an hour. The difficult part was that the seniors found it a bit offensive from cameras pointing at them. BTW, my grand ma said "cameras took away people's soul". I believe this thought is still around. Anyway, didn't take too many since quite many people hid themselves with their hand when being found as a target. All below are after LR fixing.
1. Reduce the clarity by 20% and saturation by 30% to make it softer and a bit aged.
2. Recovery by 20%.
3. Recovery by 40%, clarity reduced by 10%.
4. Reduce clarity by 20%.

Got milk?

There are some striking scenes in HK right now - huge 4 storey high European luxury brands stores in prime location, sparkling shiny jewel/gold gigantic shops, chain electronic shops and pharmacies. All because of the mainland. This pharmacy was opened in the prime location just opposite to Times Square. So they put all those imported brands of milk powder in the front rows of the shop. Out of this issue, some faded businesses can be considered now, e.g. HK nanny 奶媽, or even more for a quality "organic nanny" who only eat organic food, wear organic fashion, breath organic air as long as you pay "organic" money. Years later, there may be some possible scenes like these - lots of foot massage places serviced by HK local people, HK maid exporting services, Fusion shops - LV, Gucci or Leica having their milk powder brands.
Abbott, Glaxo, Meiji, Snow Brand - hurry up. Gotta set your own flag ship stores.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Boston Restaurant Wanchai HK

I had my first steak in this restaurant and it's probably at my junior high school. Didn't remember how exactly it was but for sure it was the most impressive meal to me. Later on, my high school friends despised going to this restaurant as they went to all those hotel cafe such as New World TST, Excelsior and Plaza hotel (now Park Lane in Causeway Bay). Since then, I didn't get much chance of going back to this restaurant. At my recent visit, the meal wasn't a real steak meal. It's 100% HK style steak meal. So I paid for getting my memory rather than for the meal.