Tag Archives: Victoria Harbor

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…

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.