Clicky

Star Ferry, Hong Kong

An evening spent on the quayside of the Kowloon Peninsula overlooking Hong Kong's rightly famous Victoria Harbour.

A photographic cliche?

I recently read an interesting article by photographer and writer Mitchell Kanashkevich in which he explored the theme of consciously setting out to avoid photographic cliches.   The article is well worth a read.   Well this scene must have been photographed a million times by a million people (at least) surely qualifying it as such a cliche!

So,  to take the picture or not?    I can well see the point (just one of several) made by MK,  that of the working pro photographer pitching his photographs to potential clients via photo editors.   Oh,  another pretty picture of a subject that's been photographed by all and sundry!    In my case however I choose to capture the image without any real pangs about whether it's cliched or not.   The advantage of being someone who's not reliant on,  or even expectant of,  making a dollar from the photo!   The pleasure in recording the scene and coming away with an image which is personally satisfying is enough.

A working harbour.

The harbour is a working waterway with boats and ships of all types moving along and criss-crossing its waters.    Among those craft,  for over a century,  are the cross harbour ferries now known as the Star Ferries.    These boats evoke a sense of nostalgia as well as being an important part of modern Hong Kong's public transport system and it's not unusual to see as many as six of them on the water at any given time.    For only a couple of Hong Kong Dollars per trip,  over 26 million people use the service annually.    It's not only efficient,  but must be one of the most pleasant ways to make the journey too.

Sometimes I wish I were a painter.

In taking the photo,  I found that I was among hundreds of people at the waterfront admiring,  and in many cases attempting to photograph,  the scene.     As the sun goes down there is competition between natural and artificial light with the former gradually giving way to the latter.   Part of the attraction of the scene is when the ferries turn on their own lighting which is then beautifully reflected by the water.

Technically the image reaches the limits of what I think the camera does well,  or at least acceptably.     The falling light levels meant either going to slower shutter speeds and accepting subject movement or going to higher ISOs where digital noise becomes an issue.     This image,  at this quality,  would have been virtually impossible in the film era.

Even so,  whilst taking the shot,  I couldn't help but think how good it would be to be a fine painter,  freed from the technicalities and utilizing his brush and his imagination.    The scene with its watery reflections would surely inspire a water-colourist!     ~KD

Star Ferry, Hong Kong Harbour at Twilight