Hong Kong Set 1, The Bay

2 hours of sleep?  Jet lag?  No problem!

The benefit of being jet lagged is that it is much easier to wake up early in the morning before sunrise to take advantage of the morning light.   I had only arrived at the hotel a few hours before and was in Hong Kong for only 1 night before heading over to Macau where our Company’s Sales Conference was being held.  The forecasted weather was cloudy and raining, but I was hopeful that there would be some brief patches of sky and light.

 Sensor: Canon 6D
Location: Kowloon, Hong Kong


 I didn’t do too much research on the best spots for me to shoot other than the standard ones such as Victoria’s Peak.  I initially tried to take shots from the hill tops north of Kowloon around 6AM, but came back empty-handed an hour later.  Dejected, I was about to go up to my room, but decided to stay out for another hour right outside the Harbour Grand Kowloon Hotel.  This is one of the few hotels that sits on the bay without a busy road dividing it.  Prime real estate.

It was about 7:30 AM at this point, and I set up my tripod and camera towards Hong Kong Island trying to get a reasonable skyline.  Since my subject matter and I weren’t moving anywhere, I took out my 35 mm prime and graduated filter.   I attempted t0 wait to get enough interesting sky and enough clarity because of the haze.

It had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention

I was so focused towards the center Hong Kong Island, I almost missed what was happening just over my left shoulder.  I felt a sudden change in light just on the edge of my eye and a slight warmth on my cheek.  A break in the clouds had let a huge pouring of light onto the inlet into the bay, but the cloud coverage was still there to shield direct sunlight into my face.  It looked as if a gateway had opened up in the sea for ships to come out of and gave an ethereal glow to the ships entering.  I immediately swung my camera over.  The light was changing faster than I could move and I fumbled over my camera settings.  (I had my settings on full manual andthe  Zeiss ZE lenses are manual only)  I instinctively snapped a few shots without fully adjusting just to make sure I had something.  But by the time I had snapped a few off, I feared that I missed the best part.

Sensor: Canon 6D
Location: Kowloon, Hong Kong


I kept waiting for the scene to come back as it had started, but it never did.  I do like how the photo came out however, and maybe this would still been have my photo of choice.  I used a 2-stop grad filter and put minimal post processing on the RAW image.  I prefer the use of physical graduated filters over completely relying on post-processing graduated filters.  The image seems to come out cleaner and more nuanced than relying only on digital processing.   The resulting image puts an ominous clouded city juxtaposed next to the hopeful light of entering ships.

This session really reminded me of a couple of things:

1) Things happen quickly during sunrise and sunset.
2) To be aware of all my surroundings and not focused on one thing at the expense of everything else.

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