Chinese Astrology Rabbit Statue in Kowloon, Hong Kong

What is Your Sign?

I can’t say I fully understand the intricacies of Chinese Astrology. I think I know two things:

  1. It seems to have little in common with Western Astrology.
  2. I am the Rabbit.

When I visited Kowloon’s Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple the place was packed…I walked in shoulder to shoulder with other tourists and worshipers. There wasn’t a clear shot of much so I focused on close-up work. You know…creativity is an attribute of both the Rabbit AND Pisces!

Photo Technical Info

Spiral Incense in Hong Kong

Which Buddhist Temple?

I have visited quite a number of temples, shrines, churches and other holy places around the globe. This is amazing as I get to see how people from different places and walks of life experience religion. The problem is sometimes these sites can run together! Some places like La Sagrada Familia are unmistakable, but this shot…might be a few places! I think, given the prominent spiral incense, its Man Mo Temple, but honestly I am only about 75% sure!

Photo Technical Info

Red Taxi in Hong Kong

Wanted Photos

If you take photos (and I hope you do), do you go places wanting specific photos? I do! I have been after a photo like this of one of the red taxi’s in Hong Kong ever since I first visited. This was taken on my most recent and forth trip to HK. I was only passing through and I didn’t expect to get much of anything useful, but I had a few hours in the morning before my flight back to The States. I walked down to the Avenue of Stars and milled around, feeling completely uninspired when it hit me I could try for a taxi shot! This is actually the combination and manipulation of a few photos, but it ended up being one of my favorite photos in recent memory…I hope you enjoy it!

Photo Technical Info

Jumbled Buildings in Hong Kong

So Much Going On

Big cities are always interesting to my small town mind. I grew up in a city of less that 7000 people and when I look back I longed for the “Bright Lights of THE Big City”. I remember collecting maps from National Geographic magazine. Those maps were the only part I recall looking at and I would pour over the details of the Amazon or some medieval European city. We didn’t travel much as a family, for one reason or another, which might well explain my life-long fascination with travel. As a child, travel seemed a magical journey, fought with excitement, and peril. As an adult, I can’t say much has changed in those old attitudes, but one thing I do know…THE Big City is an exciting place to see.

Photo Technical Info

Iron Panda

I Went to the Mall in Hong Kong!

Ok, OK, I know what you are thinking…you went all the way to China and you went to the MALL! Hear me out. I happened to be staying at the Hyatt at K11 and had heard about the strange and very interesting art collection housed at the mall. I assumed it was a gimmick and nothing more, totally writing off a visit. When I was returning from my oh so wonderfully clear night on Victoria Peak, I decided to stop by on my way into the hotel (there are several entrances to the Hyatt inside the mall after all). I was floored! The juxtaposition of their wonderful art collection (mostly contemporary Chinese artists) to those elements purely for consumption had my head spinning with thoughts about where fashion, art, consumption, waste, longevity, youth, sweet shops, labor (on and on) all intersect and interrelate.

Iron Panda

This guy is a sculpture of fiberglass and steel and resin by artist Bi Heng. It was this sculpture that initially caught my attention, drawing me into the zigzag that is K11. Iron Panda combines three elements, the giant panda, his iron man suit and tai chi (nature, technology and spirit); his melancholy is apparent beneath his powerfully rugged exterior. Mankind abandoning our heritage in pursuit of technological power, but perhaps balance can save us if we only work to find it (paraphrased from what I recall of the artists statement and my own interpretation).

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 26 May, 2014
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/2s
  • Title: Iron Panda

Overlooking Hong Kong from VIctoria Peak on a Clear Night

The Weather is Unavoidable

When you fly halfway around the world for a photo, the least the location can do is cooperate when it comes to the weather! Truth be told, I have been extremely lucky the past few years (knock on wood!!!). Whether it was January in Geneva Switzerland or the constantly fantastic weather in Hawaii…most of the time I have at least a few good days of mostly sunny (with some pretty cloudiness) weather. Our first trip to Hong Kong was an exception and we kept putting off Victoria Peak because of the blanket of clouds. We chose well as our last night was a clear as it got!

Returning to Capture What I Missed

Sometimes I end up going to a place I have been before. The secret of cheap travel (are you ready for this revelation?) is to go where the fares are inexpensive, not necessarily where you WANT to go. If the fares take you to Milan, Italy two times this year, then just take the train to Venice. If you missed a clear Victoria Peak shot on your first try in Hong Kong…maybe the second try will pan out!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 25 May, 2014
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 6s
  • Title: Overlooking Hong Kong from VIctoria Peak on a Clear Night

An Offering at Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong

Man Mo Alter

I have never professed to know exactly what is going on in Buddhist Temples. There is praying of course and offerings, but exactly what transpires is a bit of a mystery. Just after taking this photo of some kind of offering on one of the alters a woman started yelling at me and shooing me away. I think she thought I was taking photos of the worshipers (which I was not out of respect), but still, this was the last think I photographed in the very small Hong Kong temple!

Photo Technical Info

The Big Buddha of Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong

Po Lin Monastery is Way Up the Mountain

I am a bit afraid of heights and Po Lin Monastery is enshrouded in the clouds that surround the mountains of Lantau Island in Hong Kong. There are only a few ways to get to Ngong Ping, the “Traditional-Style Village” just outside Po Lin Monastery (complete with Starbucks and a place to buy sunglasses and flip-flops). The first is to hike…this takes hours. The second is the travel by bus…this seems boring. The third is by cable car…we chose the latter. I don’t have a recent memory of being so tense while seated. I actually felt better when our view was totally blocked by the clouds.

The Big Buddha

The Big Buddha, also known as Tian Tan Buddha, is immense and impressive. It’s beauty completely makes up for the commercial bit of awfulness that is Ngong Ping Village. The site is teaming with people and during our visit there was a service with monks circumambulating around the base of the statue in a clock-wise manner while chanting and singing.

Hong Kong at Sunset

Strange and Wonderful

I get myself to some crazy places these days. By crazy I of course mean amazingly awesome! Hong Kong is special in a number of senses. The blend of east and west make for a region of Asia that is like none other for Western travelers. I have a feeling I will forever recommend Hong Kong to anyone asking where to go in Asia for their first visit. It’s also an incredibly active city but with tons of natural wonder to explore.

Top of the Island

We visited Victoria Peak the last night in Hong Kong. Most of our time in the city was enshrouded in fog and the last evening was our best opportunity to photograph. There is an intriquate network of trails around the peak that take you out and away from the commercial areas. Here are a few suggestions for photographers:

  • Skip the peak tram and take a taxi. You will only spend a few HKD more and save HOURS!
  • Arrive Early! Because of the above, I didn’t feel like I got a prime spot. There will be many people with tripods.
  • Wear your walking shoes. There are lots of trails…we found our spot on Lugard Road.
  • Bring some layers. It gets cold up on top of Victoria Peak.