The dilemma that is 9,000 pictures

Business Card Candidate - I thought this woman made a fascinating, beautiful subject. I can't stand the way I shot it and feel like the potential has been lost. On the other hand, walking at a brisk pace to keep up with the people you're with doesn't exactly allow one to setup the perfect shot. I suppose I could give myself that!

I have a school photo contest I must enter in 5 days and I decided that it might be time to print some business cards upon my return to Hong Kong. Therefore, it’s time to look at the mountain – approximately 9,000 – pictures I brought back from Hong Kong. Even with daily processing in Hong Kong and eliminating the truly bad, there is still so much I haven’t looked at.

Processing is probably my least favorite part of the photo taking process, perhaps because I feel so bad at it. I never know how to bring out the best in my pictures and my tinkering and experimenting seems to result in so little. Not having the proper tools and not truly knowing how to use the ones I do. Wrestling with an aging computer that is not really fast enough to do an efficient job doesn’t help.

Given that I’m my own worst critic, so little really makes the cut for something to show in a public way that goes beyond this web site. The few pictures that really hit me showcase people in a way that feels way too uncomfortable to put on a business card – full frontal shots of faces? A little creepy if you don’t know them, and still creepy if you do (Unless you really want to ask for permission….). Kids? Anyone is going to like a picture of a kid – doesn’t show your skill. The homeless and the down and out? Predatory and capitalizing on the suffering others to make it look like you know WTF you’re doing. More complex but potentially interesting scenes? Needs a caption. Religious and rather strong messages? Don’t want to seem like I’m endorsing them. Interesting cultural scenes, and yet again religion? Good job at appropriating… (Please note that these are not thoughts that cross my head when others promote themselves through their photography…)

I think all these things boil down to one thought – if you are going to try to evoke a response from people, you better be the genuine article.

…my computer’s charger just burned out. Not going to interpret that message today. Perhaps it is “stop being so brutally honest.”

Maybe I’ll settle for tepid landscape shots.

Change of Pace: Back Home

Madelinetosh Yarn in the Vintage base - Color, Venetian - the tiny beginnings of an Ambrosia cardigan.

It hasn’t been my intent to let the blog go silent now that my trip is through, though it is definitely taking some time for me to get things in order. I’m going to try to keep up a regular stream of posts, even if it’s something like cataloging things such as book reviews and other things I’ve already written. I also still have some material from my Hong Kong trip that was never posted.

I’ve been trying to enjoy the change of pace though it’s been pretty anticlimactic. Despite insisting I was just fine upon my return and proceeding to rush around getting things done my first two days back, I was proven quite wrong… promptly taking a week to sleep and not much else, feeling pretty dazed and lethargic. I have been able to knit like crazy, though any effort at reading was followed by zzzzz.

Peggy Sue in Madelinetosh DK Fathom

Now that I’m finally feeling human again I’m looking to find my misplaced motivation so I might proceed with my summer reading. In the meantime I’ll continue to fill the time with knitting and reading. Hopefully I’ll find it in me to process the 9,000 pictures I brought back with me so I can present a complete Hong Kong gallery.

Cast off with Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off - slightly scalloped.

Things I’m going to miss….

Skyline

Skyline - my view from the dorm. Never got tired of it, nor did it ever fail to amaze in all its different manifestations.

Tonight is my last night in Hong Kong…. I know I’ll miss this place so much and will hope to come back at some point. A list of the things I’m going to miss in the meantime.

Helpers for Domestic Helpers, my amazing internship…. it was a great work experience and it definitely made the trip for me. And of course my coworkers!!!

Filipinas – I admire Filipinas so much, especially the domestic helpers. They go through so much and they’re still always so friendly and open despite that. So many of my best times in Hong Kong were thanks to Filipinas!!!

Hongkongers!!! – In the beginning I had this image of the average Hongkonger being this horrible, abusive and rude person. I was getting shoved and pushed in my everyday travels through the city and listening to domestic helpers in horrendous situations everyday. As time went on, I’m happy to say my perspective balanced out… Constantly hearing my classmate Edith talk about how wonderful she found Hongkongers to be definitely made my own numerous and positive experiences stick out in my mind – and so many times they would go well above and beyond to help out.

Urban but wild – The ability to live my life day to day in an urban environment and take a subway 10 minutes away to find jungles and temples. Walking to work everyday and viewing birds of prey soaring over the skyscrapers. The mountains that surround the city on all sides, the clouds low enough to obscure the mountaintops. It always awes me when I’m in a locale where the sky is visible for miles. I never realize how little of the sky I see where I’m from, nor can I get over that I never seem to get tired of or amazed at such a simple thing.

The crazy contrasts of the place – the above one included….

TEA STANDS!!!! – What can I say, I’m addicted to drinks…. encountering tea stands all over the city and their ridiculously large drink menu is kind of my definition of a mecca (We’re talking 10 times the size of a Starbucks menu…). Also when the lemon tea is fresh it’s the best stuff you’ll ever get – and it’s all over!!!

Admittedly I didn’t take much to the food… though there were some good things…. such as Passionfruit flavored things….. GOOD scones, and quality croissants from the grocery store….

And of COURSE, the subway system…. and all the other little smart things all over the city that are so great for efficiency….

Deja Vu Conversations

This little kitten at an apothecary stall was adorable.... softest little paws!! I was petting it and photographing the photogenic little creature when I realized there was a crowd of about ten others who had gathered around behind me to photograph...

During my time here in Hong Kong a few of the same observations would occur in different contexts, but it was always funny to hear from different people that they were experiencing the exact same thing, or hear different classmates have virtually the same conversation at different times.

For instance – despite the incredible efficiency of the subway system here, people will cram rather than wait for the next one (2 minutes during rush hour, 4 minutes during off time.). To those of us familiar with the NY subway system, this seemed pretty crazy, and multiple people wondered aloud why they would opt to be uncomfortable when you know another train will be right behind it. Well, I think we figured it out…. This past week, my last week in Hong Kong, I’ve found myself with thoughts of “that wasn’t 2 minutes, that was more like 6″ or “4 minutes?? …that was so much longer”…”the wait has counted down to one minute but it is long past one minute.” The system seemed lightning fast in the beginning, but by the end of 2 months I was fidgeting and constantly watching the minute countdown. Others noted that they started doing the same thing, and the questions about why people would cram stopped!!!

“This Coke tastes like chemicals” – only for others to answer that it’s probably laden with more chemicals in the US given more lax regulations (the comparison they were using was Europe, and perhaps by extension Hong Kong as a former colony?), therefore we’re used to a different taste that tastes natural to us despite not being natural at all…

Found I really missed regular contact with animals during my time in Hong Kong... couldn't resist petting and watching dogs and cats whenever I came across them.

The joking about never asking for directions because Hongkongers only give you a vague notion of where to go… A lot of us had this experience of asking for directions and funny stories to tell – getting answers like “it’s up there” with a wave of the hand or “take that left” with a point, only for you to be confused as to if it’s the first left or the one right after it…. Yes, I did in fact wander in circles around the Post Office in Sheung Wan, completely lost despite the fact I was basically circling around the building it was in after getting vague directions from person after person…. Please note, this isn’t a nonchalance on their part because they don’t care about helping – it just seems to be a cultural thing!