Wednesday, 7 January 2015

December 29, 2014 - Black and White Photos of Wan Chai, Hong Kong

A quick photo of my Flat's Balcony at Lohas to test my camera settings before heading to Wan Chai. 

Armed with my Canon EOS 6D with 50mm / F1.4 Lens, I decided to wander the bustling streets of Wan Chai and do some Street Photography. It was quite late in the day when I left Lohas and although the MTR transport will take me just a mere 30 minutes, I knew it would be dark by the time I reached my destination.

I sort of have a vision in mind and I was eager and curious on the what images I would capture with a specific camera setting.

Visually, I was aiming for a  Black and White composition with very high contrast. The word “Chiaroscuro” came in mind and the memories of art lectures conducted by my Professor came flooding back. Slide Images of Vermeer’s Girl with Pearl Earrings, Willem Kelf’s Still Life Chinese Porcelain Jar and Van der Neer’s Moonlight Landscape filled me to the brim with renewed girlish excitement.

On a sentimental note, emotions during holidays can be similar to chiaroscuro. Our hearts may fill with joy or drop to gloominess. Nevertheless, the light and dark, the positives and negatives all compliment each other in our daily lives. The light guides us through the darkness and darkness makes the light all the more special.

While seated inside the MTR, I cannot help but notice that during this holiday break, I have also been re-watching black and white classic movies that I have collected through the years from Casablanca (1942), Citizen Kane (1941), Tokyo Story (1953) and Schindler’s List to name a few.

As I reached Wan Chai from MTR Exit A3, I was surprised that there were not so many people cluttering about. I was greeted by the rich and delicious smell of Pizza, cheese and herbs from nearby Paisano. From a distance I could hear the familiar ding-ding which signalled the tram’s prescene along the route. Overhead, the sky was grey and gloomy. The sun’s warmth had faded and I drew my jacket closer around me.

The coldness did not damper my high spirits and I started to walk along Johnston Road and sauntered my way to Hennesy Road and finally Lockhart Road, clicking away. 

The streets were quieter and more relaxed. I savoured it as I meandered through alleys and granite-stone paved backstreets. As I walk past cafes and bars, the smell of char siu, second-hand smoke, egg tarts, fishball, herbal tea, sticky rice and incense was distinct and recognisable - the cacophony of it all was fascinating.

I love photography and the freedom it gives me. I have been working on 3D Max to create Interior Visuals for the most part of my career and every detail has to be clear with lighting and camera at limited angles . 

Street Photography provides the counter balance for me to capture spontaneously a split second in time. It allows me certain liberties in skewing the truth out of a scene that would look unreal if they were in a commercial 3D Visual. I like the idea of not everything being clear- from motion blur, bokeh to dark murky shadows.  I like the expressive possibilities that a photograph can present and how it can be edited, manipulated and show things that are nor physically possible.

Here are some of the photos I took that day. I would also like to share the general camera settings I have used to capture these images :

  • To start with, I set my Camera to Manual Mode as I wanted the artistic freedom to adjust my camera settings to fit the vision that I see in a scene.
  • Secondly, I set the f/Stop to 1.4 as I wanted to let as much as luminescence and light in given that it is a night scene in Wan Chai plus it will give a blurry backdrop to the scene.
  • I have kept my ISO constant at 640 hoping it will give me just the right amount of contrast to balance the scene. 
  • My shutter speed varied from 1/160 to 1/400 depending on the scene’s ambient light. I did not use any flash.
  • I have shot in RAW Format so that I could maintain the original high quality of my images.
Lastly while taking photos, I listened to Chopin's Nocturne op.9 No2. - it added a surreal experience to it. Here is the link :

No comments:

Post a Comment