The Greatest Photo I Never Shot
One of my Kowloon photos was picked for Explore on Flickr again! Cool. I mean, it’s not like number one or anything like that. Actually it was around #419 on Flickr river, with various random shots of buses that somebody who really likes photographing buses took. I suppose that could be sorta interesting. Anybody that shoots any sort of thing over and over (sorta like train spotting but for buses) is certainly not your average photographer.
This, however, is a shot I took in the Jade Market over in Kowloon. We were there for some time while the ladies of the market frantically ran around trying to find a ring that would fit Lily’s ring finger. The ring we’d gotten for our wedding was a touch big so we had already returned it. Being a proper married lady now she needed a ring to show the world, right? So what better place to look than the Jade Market? She saw a cool red “jade” ring and tried it on but it didn’t fit. Hong Kong Jade Market ladies weren’t about to let her go, though. They’re some seriously hard sellers! I guess you have to be if that’s your living. I could probably learn a thing or two from them. Anyway, they went running around to other dealers and booths searching for another one that was both her size and the cool red hue she liked. It wasn’t easy. They were almost all a bit too big or small or a darker-uglier red, etc., etc. After about 20 minutes of fussing and whatnot, one of the ladies found one and Lily wears it to this day! Thanks, Jade Market! The original price was ridiculous but she was able to talk them down to something like US$13. We’ve since seen similar rings at the Ashby flea market in Berkeley for only around five bucks. That’s not nearly as good of a story though. So anyway, while this is all going on I’m walking around shooting pics of various people and things. I sorta knew the one of this guy plucking his beard would be a goodie and so it was. However, it wasn’t as good as the one I’d missed earlier in the day.
I was REALLY in the mood to shoot this day. Even woke up early and headed down to the promenade to shoot the sunrise. Well, not quite. It was already up but still low enough for a time-lapse that didn’t come out all that great. The boats and stuff looked cool, though, so I’ll be making a compilation of video and TL at some point and posting it. Anyway, after getting booted from at least one spot I wasn’t supposed to be and climbing an empty parking garage trying to find the best spots for a panoramic, I headed back to find my sleeping lady. Woke her up to get some long-yearned-for vegan dim sum from Kung Tak Lam Shanghai Vegetarian Cuisine, which we’d visited on our last trip and really loved. This time, not so much. Well, especially myself since I’m in no way vegetarian anymore. I was, for many years but have since given up that mess. I mean, I try and make it grass-fed, pastured, non-factory, etc., but whatever. Not the point. After enjoying the magic that is Tim Ho Wan, there’s just no enjoying any other dim sum.
Afterwards we headed back to the Kowloon Tin Hau Temple. The day before it had been closing and I really wanted to shoot more pics there. So today I did, in the room with the cool spiraling incense coils. Noticed a good amount of commotion coming from the room all the way over on the other side of the entrance. Decided to check it out. There were people waiting around with paper lanterns they had purchased and written notes to what I think were deceased relatives. Then they would wait to have it blessed by a man wearing a mask, wielding a sword, doing a dance and spitting fire. Yep. He’d do a little dance around the burning sacrament to the rhythm of the beating drummers, schwing his schword around and then finally take a big swig of what I’m guessing was some kind of Chinese moonshine, and then do a no-handed cartwheel over the lantern while spitting whiskey into it, thus creating a very magical poof of fire! All this and I was told “no photographs” when I entered. I was devastated. Well, don’t get me wrong. I’m amazed and grateful that I got to see it in the first place but the fact that I maybe could’ve taken that photo…. Oh man, it burns me up inside. I had my 12-24 so I could’ve eeked up to the front and shot from a low angle, clicking the shutter right as he was upside down and spitting in the fire. But alas it wasn’t to be. I tried to convince Lily to buy a lantern and maybe we could take a photo of the blessing, but she wasn’t having it. We had more important things to do. Like go to the Hui Lau Shan across the street and drown my sorrows in mango desserts. Then off to the Jade Market for some afternoon haggling.
After the Jade Market area we wandered around a meat market that seemed to have a lot of REALLY fresh chicken. They would grab the one you wanted, twist it’s neck and throw in the boiling water to De-feather. It all happened in seconds. Pretty amazing and probably really good.
On the way back to the train I took a photo of a lady selling yams. Her son or something hollered at me. Man, not my day.
Kicked out and denied all day long yet I still managed to get a few good shots that day. That’s the way it goes though. Later on this night we went and watched the light show at Tsim Sha Tsui. That’s always cool. But I’ll save that for another post. Possibly with video.
For now I’ll just go off to bed with dreams of masked demon dudes spitting fire into my camera.
All shot with Nikon D600 and various lenses. Click on any shot to send you to flickr where you can see the shooting data etc on the lower right hand side. VSCO film lightroom presets used quite a bit too.