Photos: Night Shooting in Hong Kong

“… a fine way to capture a piece of the magic of a unique city. The drama, the charm and the beauty of Hong Kong is all here-just as is its breathless energy.”  Nury Vittachi, Hong Kong: The City of Dreams

A few nights ago I walked up the long trail to the top of Victoria Peak. It was hot, muggy, and the air was very thick and heavy. I was walking with my heavy camera bag because I didn’t want to wait in the long queue for the tram.

I got to the top and was rewarded with one of the most spectacular views of any city I’ve ever been too. A glimmering, shimmery, colourful, buzzing city, laid out before me, bursting with intense energy and colour.

I had truly arrived in Hong Kong.

At the moment I am really getting into a lot of sunset / blue hour / night shooting here. If there was any city meant for night shooting, it’s Hong Kong.

So I want to show you some of the ideas I am playing with – and of course I’d love to hear what you think.

Showing work in progress can sometimes feel a little uncomfortable – when it’s not totally finished; when I am still mulling over photos that I am not always certain about; photos that maybe need a re-edit, or I’ll reshoot or need some more time to think over.

But I think there is so much value  in seeing projects develop, and seeing the processes that people go through when they are putting a project together.

Amazing light, right!?

Hong Kong is amazing – if you haven’t been it’s everything you think it will be – times a thousand.

It’s overwhelming: gazillions of people everywhere, in very densely packed streets and blinding high rises. The air is thick and heavy and hot.

The colours are just WOW! I love it.

I am in a photographer’s paradise – if you like shooting cities of course. Di saw my first photos and said – this is so you’re kind of city!

Hong Kong is currently undergoing massive construction on the waterfront

This photo below is my favourite photo from the past week (I think…) It makes me think a little bit of that amazing film In the Mood for Love – which I suppose Hong Kong, with its tropical air and intense colours just lends itself to a cinematic feeling.

That moody dark blue sky, the shallow depth, a bit of thirds…yummy!

Blue hour here is so stunning because of the dramatic weather and how colourful the city lights are. It’s really stimulating! And as it starts to cool off my energy goes up. It’s a great combo to shoot with.

The density of artificial colour, mixed with all the rigid and repetitive shapes, is mesmerising.

I like finding little moments of quiet in cities, too.

Lots of simple contrasts….

Tropical trees & monolithic modern buildings: I’m totally obsessed with the trees here. I love anything that gives contrast to these giant monolithic buildings.

Wow, what colours! Makes me think of awesome 1980’s design.

“Give Hong Kong to an Artist. He can use it. It can be poetised.” Baris Gencel

I like this quote because even though Hong Kong is a hard city to ‘get to grips with’,  I recommend you inhabit the wandering, poetic spirit because such modernity can of course be made into poetry and art.

Also, it’s too easy to get overwhelmed by big cities – and we always want to banish overwhelm in our creativity. You just have to accept that you’ll never fully capture such a changing, moving city in totality – so just inhabit the spirit of the observer, the poet and drift to what interests you and follow the light.

The edginess…

Every city has an edginess – and I always seem to be drawn to them.

I love to explore the gritty edges of cities. The places where things are ugly, stark, perhaps a bit brutalist. I am drawn to making something interesting with them.

I’m not driven to being super philosophical in my photography – I could say I like show the dark side of the human impact on the planet, but I leave that interpretation up to others to figure out.

So that’s it for now!

I’ve got some great street photography to share with you next time. Hong Kong is incredible for street photography!

But for now, I am going to carry on shooting and getting ready for my workshop that starts next week. I can’t wait. It’s so much fun shooting with other people in a place like this. The intensity! The colours! The buildings! The people!  The exploration! (and the food). All awesome to share.

I’d love to know what you think of my photos – please comment below – its so great hearing what you think!

Have a wonderful day,

Anthony (with word-support and help from the awesome lady that is Diana)