Tag Archives: Hong Kong

You can buy it in Hong Kong, 24/7

I was working in my suit and tie. Not uncommon in my current assignment. Our light panel case had some particularly powerful velcro holding it together. When I bent down to get the LED lights out of the case, the velcro grabbed my tie. Destroyed. I went through three ties that day. I needed a new tie, like, NOW. My AroundMe app told me I could buy a new tie .57 miles from my current location. I took off walking. I never made it to the store AroundMe suggested. I found a tie shop within a quarter mile. In Hong Kong, much like L.A. or New York, you can buy just about anything, at just about anytime. The city never slept, at least, while I was awake, which was most of the time.

My last post from Hong Kong is dedicated to Commerce.  Fortunately for me, I now have several new ties.

Hong Kong Streets

We were walking on a busy Hong Kong street. The road was narrow. Cars were zipping past. People were jostling by, lots of them. At the crosswalk, people were waiting, restrained by the glowing red character, which, although I didn’t know the precise meaning, clearly meant, ‘don’t walk’. The light changed. GREEN. GO. The gates opened. The dam broke. The race began. People rushed across the busy street as if their lives depended on it. As if, to finish last in this race would embarrass their team, let down their nation, disappoint their parents, end their lives. Literally.

The clock was ticking. Seconds remained.

I stepped into the street. A hand seized my arm, held my shoulder.

“WAIT.” My friend, a Hong Kong native, pulled me back onto the sidewalk. “Not enough time,” he said.

We could make it, I thought.

Voooommm. A Black BMW M6 roared past, inches from where my toes had just been.

“THERE’S STILL TIME ON THE CLOCK,” I shouted, thinking that made a difference.

“In Hong Kong, the cars do not stop,” my friend said.  “You must pay attention.”

We turned down a narrow side street. Cars were not allowed. People bustled, shoulder to shoulder, grocery sack to grocery sack, carving out space amidst the shops, the pungent smells, the noise. The crowd was moving, faster in the middle, slower on the sides where the shouts were loudest.

Dried fish. Wet fish. Hanging meat. Cloth. Shoes. T-shirts. DVDs. Electronics. Hand bags–with designer labels–REALLY.

My friend held my camera so I could shop. I selected a present for my wife. My friend did the negotiating–back and forth.  The shopkeeper spoke in loud, harsh tones. He seemed to be angry. Then, he smiled and bowed. They exchanged money–my money–and I was given a beautiful silk scarf. I had no idea how much it cost. Walking away, I checked my currency conversion ap.

“Great deal, ” I said, stepping off the curb. “My wife will love it.”

My friend grabbed my arm and pulled me back onto the sidewalk.  A car zipped past as I looked up from my iPhone.

“Here,” he said, handing me back my camera. “you should take more pictures.”

Hong Kong Slice of Life

When I saw the Reggae Kung Fu poster, I asked my friend, a native of Hong Kong, if Jackie Chan was in town. I meant it as a joke. He didn’t laugh. He took me seriously.

“No. Unfortunately, Jackie Chan is not in town.” He said it as if he knew, at all times, where Jackie Chan actually was. And, he seemed disappointed he could not take me to meet Jackie Chan. He didn’t mention any Reggae artists.

Humor, especially with sarcasm, doesn’t translate well, mine, or his. My friend told me how much he loves Jackie Chan, how much the people of Hong Kong love Jackie Chan. But, he said, the movies made in Hong Kong look different than the movies made in the US.

“What’s the difference,” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said. “They’re just different.”

He tried to show me some examples. Grittier, dirtier, darker, faster, more martial arts. “American movies make Hong Kong look…cleaner.”

“Show me your Hong Kong.”

He tried to. I think. The sites we filmed and photographed were carefully selected. I spent nearly a week in Hong Kong, this time, and I still don’t think I’ve seen the city, the ‘real’ city. After all, I couldn’t give a one sentence description. Big, tall, vibrant, energizing, fast paced, harried, smelly, busy, clean, dirty… I could use a dictionary and never run out of adjectives to describe Hong Kong. It is all of those things, and more. So, bear with me. I photographed the things I could see. Slice of Life? I hope so…

Religious Worship–Hong Kong Style

There are approximately 600 temples, shrines and monasteries in Hong Kong. Buddhism and Christianity are the most widely practiced religions; however, most world religions are found throughout Hong Kong. I was only able to visit two Buddhist Temples, but the evidence of religious worship is pervasive. The Chinese of Hong Kong are a religious people.

Hong Kong in HDR

I don’t shoot everything in HDR. Honest, I don’t. However, Hong Kong is such a visual, visceral experience, quite beyond the ordinary sense, bordering on the overwhelming, that High Dynamic Range imagery seemed to be appropriate. Sometimes, I know, HDR–my HDR shots–skirt quite close to the edge of going over the top. I’m still trying to figure out where that edge is, what’s appropriate for the subject, what’s appropriate for the viewer. I certainly haven’t found that place–yet. I haven’t been doing this long enough. My wife sometimes tells me my HDR shots look like bad ’70s blacklight posters.

C’est la vie.

It’s fun and it looks cool. I can’t draw. I don’t use a brush. But, if I did, my impressionist paintings might also look like bad ’70s blacklight posters.

C’est la vie, again.

I would, at some point like to approach art, not just capture, although, I think I look at the world with a documentarian’s eye. I do enjoy the candid, the natural, the slice of life, the story in the moment.

I didn’t throw all my visual sensibilities out the window when I landed in Hong Kong. I did capture some of those images. Nevertheless, the striking structures of Hong Kong demanded that I shoot more than one image and compelled me to combine them in my favorite HDR tone mapping software. So, if that wasn’t enough of an apology, here is gallery of Hong Kong, HDR style.

And, by the way, I’d love to know if galleries work best for viewing these images, or, if posting them individually over several days is more enjoyable. Thanks, and I hope some of the fun I had in Hong Kong rubs off on you and brightens your day.

Hong Kong, a fascinating city

With a population of over 7 million, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Known by its initials, H.K., Hong Kong is a world city and international financial center that is part of the big three–New York, London, and Hong Kong–that support the global economy.

I have been able to spend a few days in Hong Kong taking pictures and filming. Over the next few days, I’ll post my visual impressions of the city.

I never feel like I have enough time to capture the full story of the places I’ve been. Hong Kong is certainly no exception. There is so much more to a city of this Magnitude. The city is exciting and beautiful. The people are friendly. Language was rarely a problem. Almost everyone I met spoke English. And, perhaps most important to surviving the long days of filming was the food. In a word, great. I now have a much better command of chopsticks than ever before.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong became a British Colony in 1842. In 1997 China peacefully resumed control of the densely populated financial center.