These days it is the job that pays the bills that prohibits me to pick up the camera and head into town. Especially now, that the gruesome weather of the past days has given way to calm winter weather.
But it is also the same job that comes with some benefits, like traveling to places around the globe. And while those business trips for the most part are limited to seeing airport, office and hotel, sometimes arises the opportunity to sneak away for an hour or two to catch some more touristic glimpses of those fascinating places. Especially, when you are willing to fight the jet lag and wander around a foreign city all by yourself late at night or very early in the morning.
This is a kind of throwback post of a short trip to Hong Kong back in 2010. I stayed in a hotel on the Victoria Harbor waterfront, directly behind the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. And while the special corporate rates normally get you only the backside rooms (or those facing the 10 lane highway), this time I got really lucky with this million dollar view across the harbor to the Tsim Sha Tsui area on the Kowloon side.
Having finished the meetings and the evening to myself, I took the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island, with frost splendid view of the busy harbor. My travel camera back then was a Canon PowerShot G11. I generally shot on P-Mode with Auto-ISO enabled, something that I still do today with my Olympus cameras when travel-shooting in a city. I only go to more manual meetings when I want to maximize depth of field or want to achieve special effects like motion blur, or when I shoot from a tripod.
Next I took the historic Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak. From there a well lighted walkway runs around the hill sporting spectacular panoramic view of Hong Kong. For the photo of the tram as well as the panorama (stitched together of three single images) of the city I did put the G11 on a small Gorillapod travel tripod.
After taking in the breathtaking panoramic view from the peak, I decided to head back to the Kowloon side to take some night shots of the Hong Kong Island skyline. Also, the (cheap) ride with the Star Ferry is alway a great experience. The photo below I took hand-held, as setting up the tripod on the Ferry was not really feasible, but handholding 1/25 secs was ok on the G11 eight years ago (today I can handhold 1/5 sec on the Olympus and get sharp images).
From the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Terminal I walked along the waterfront. Behind me was the YMCA where the Significant Other and myself stayed during our first trip to Hong Kong in the early 90’s. As with all Asian mega cities, the skyline had changed totally. The Bank of China Tower with its characteristic bamboo structure (on the left) was the highest tower back then, now it is the International Financial Center Tower on the right.
When I saw the sightseeing junk “Aqua Luna” with her bright red sails pass by, I had to go for a long exposure 2 seconds shot, again using the tripod.
Although close to midnight, it was fun walking round enjoying the skyline. As in all Asian cities, it is totally safe walking around with a camera, also late at night. Returning to the hotel for a short night’s sleep, I set my alarm to catch the dawn from my room’s window. From there I took the panorama of Victoria Harbor, stitched together from 4 single images (2010 was the days before iPhone panoramas).
Later in the afternoon, before heading to the airport for my overnight flight back home, I had the chance for another stroll along the waterfront on Hong Kong Island, taking in the modern architecture of the convention center area and the financial district, and great views of the harbor.
A trip to Hong Kong for a two-day business meeting is not easy on the body, with those two twelve-hour flights, but at least that time I got the chance to see a bit of my fascinating travel destination. I happily trade that for the days and long hours that sometimes prevent me from shooting in the streets of Nuremberg.
Wish you a great Wednesday!