News from one of our vice-chairs

Happy New Year

That’s what they are all saying in Hong Kong at the moment as it is the start of the Year of the Monkey. The down side to this is that many of the more interesting shops are shut as are many of the restaurants. The good side is that there is a lot of free entertainment on offer.On New Year’s Day, there is a huge carnival parade around the streets of Kowloon, the route encircling my hotel. (I am staying at the YMCA but no musical accompaniment please). I started queuing at 6 pm and the main parade finally arrived at 8.45. By then, I was surrounded by selfie sticks & mobile phones of all sizes and thousands of people. Taking photos of any sort was a nightmare. How do you photograph a moving yo yo in the dark? Strange to say, one of the few decent ones I managed was of the belly dancers!There was a small group playing for most of the evening. The lead was a tiny girl who could have passed for Joannie Mitchel, if any of you are old enough to remember her. The main floats were huge, built on trucks and VERY bright. Well beyond my capabilities.The following night, it was fireworks over the harbour, a perfect location. Yet again, these don’t play nicely in photographic terms. As soon as they start to go off, they fill the sky with smoke. They also move fast and ruin exposure calculations. The noise as the explosions reverberated around the huge tower blocks and The Peak was amazing. I only queued an hour to see this lot.There are also smaller events all over the place, including a pair of jousting lions on one of the islands. Everyone over here is very tactile so that many photos contain hands which have been thrust at a passing lion or street performer. Yet again, they do make the photographer’s life difficult.The best news is that there are now several micro breweries here and a bar specializing them has recently opened. What better way to cure one’s thirst.


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