Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts


I love Haussmann

Okay, I know this is a bit weird to have all these cross over below :P  but let me explain something:-

I am really obsess to the Haussmann architecture, especially the Attic floor. Well, you may think it's the smallest, least luxurious, most of all, it's usually for the maids... but, it has the best view overall! Don't you think it's quite difference from the concept, like us who live in Hong Kong? Lots of people are willing to pay extra to live in a penthouse of a high rise residential. What a contrary ? 

Of course the reason is quite simple indeed, even thought the highest Haussmann building is only six levels, without an elevator in the good old days, there is no way for the bourgeois to climb so high, no matter how stunning the view is.  In addition, how could they ask their VIP to climb stairs for gathering day & nights!That's why the construction concept behind is to have the best floor on level 2, which did make sense; regarding the stunning view? any where you see in Paris are "stunning" why restricted to the window views of your apartment? 

Back to the modern time, I will be 100% excited to live in a Haussmann building on the 2nd level, but as a tourist, it's also interesting to stay for a while on the Attic floor, which usually has a sloped ceiling, with a small balcony open wide to enjoy your daily sunset... you can find it in some B&B rentals, and I am sure I will go for a try next time. 

Watercolor of Haussmann architecture front elevation in the book of Exquisite
center page in the book of Exquisite

In the mean time, what I can do is to draw a nice picture of her, to share with you in my new book & hope you will like it, too. But this is not the end, see what I've discover...

Sim city game of Paris view in daylight
Ha ha! I am building a virtual Paris in Sim City! in my leisure moment, of course. A game I've found accidentally after returned from the trip, there are a lot to be developed, although it's not 100% real with so many restrictions, the Haussmann building are not bad, what do you think?

Sim city game of Paris view at night
The night scene do imitate some of the mood in reality, I don't know how long will I continue to play for the expansion until a "longer La Seine" can be made, let's see.

Finally, I would like to share with you the photo below, a real scene of my beloved architecture I took viewing from the Center Pompidou. One of my favorite view, neat & decent; not for the bourgeoisie only, but for everyone who love to stay. 

A scene of Haussmann architecture line up under blue sky in Paris


D300 or D70s, how about iphone SE?

Photography can help us to freeze special moments, to retrieve the feeling of our emotion in a specific time; to capture the beauty that may be lost forever…or even more; that’s why I love to shoot. 

Nikon D300 camera with wide angle lens attached

It was a struggle moment when I packed my luggage for this trip, whether I should bring along with my Nikon D70s in a lighter weight? Or Nikon D300, much heavier but more full function, or…simply my iphone? 

Nikon D70s camera with VR 18-55 lens attached

A standard lens, a wide angle or a 18-55/f3.5 VR zoom…? I know this scenario is not strange to some of you, especially when the technology of the build-in camera improve sharply in these years; I wished I could have a mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras at that minute :P

Finally & fortunately I decided to bring along with D300 + 12-24/f1.2 + 18-70/f3.5 + iphone SE (1st generation). I’m an amateur in photography, they may seem a bit “old- fashion” compare with the modern gear, but they are my intimate companions since 2015, and this time, they brought me lots & lots of good memories for my Petit Paris series, thank you “pal”.

I rarely crop photo frame after shooting because it‘s my own training to frame seriously before press my shutter: a rule that I’d like to keep since the first day I was using filmed SLR camera. It‘s a lot more sensation when holding a camera instead of a phone, thus better photos as a result.  I don’t know why, may be I am stubborn I guess.

wide angle photo of sky & garden & a couple with kid in Paris
By D300 (ISO-200_f/10_1/125s)

In fact, a good quality wide angle is almost a must to capture the enormous breathtaking architecture, and those fascinating colour coverage on or below the sky. Truly speaking, this set of photo gear, to me, was a bit heavy for a long day walk; but I did carry them with me in 8 out of 12 days for a reason.

purple orange pink & peach blossom color flower bed in Paris
By iPhone SE (ISO25 f/2.2_1/276s)
On the other hand, iphone did works tremendously well that, I was a bit free of tension to keep an eye onto it compare with a camera, in terms of security issue, i.e.: free “float” to explore!

Paris is basically safe enough for solo trip, provided you have to avoid some treacherous zone at night; but hanging your camera around your neck is still not a good idea, especially for a tourist outside the tourist spots. So I had to put it back into my bag after every few shots which was inconvenience and that’s while a small iphone helped so much in these occasions. 

In my book, you may find some photo quality difference; 80% of the photos were taken by D300 and the rest by iphone especially 2 full days in Mortmartre and The Louvre. 

To maintain the atmospheric colour as close as to the true moment, I do minimize my post editing process to all my photos. They may not professional in some sense, they are what I saw in 95% real at that moment in that space. 

I am happy of what they are & I hope you will like them, too.


SQUARE in Tsim Sha Tsui East

It's been a while not going to the Tsim Sha Tsui East district, until recently I was having a gathering over there.  So I've decided to go earlier, buy some time, hanging around to see if there is any big changes.

Tsim Sha Tsui East commercial building viewing from footbridge

Actually not much, when I was standing on the footbridge looking towards this view, same feeling of the good old days as I was a student, still...a lot of "squares".  
Tsim Sha Tsui East is always a bit isolated and therefore even though it is a tourist + commercial zone, I feel more relax here compare with the Canton road section. 
A new high rise with rectangular windows in earth tone
Except this new building (to me) I've discovered near the harbour, I will say it looks nice to fit into the surrounding, subtle & decent; again square square square... 
Finally, I found "Square of the Day" in a dramatic colorway that attracted me. I thought the purplish shade was due to deterioration of the glass curtain material instead, but did create another unique scenario I love.

Square curtain walls of a hotel in purple shade

Looking into windows of the buildings from street in or after the twilight time is one of my "hobby", it's interesting, imaginative and even with surprise sometimes; I will always imagine the look of the peoples who live inside, what is his/ her job, what are they doing right now/ or waiting for someone may be...under the bright white or moody yellowish luminescent; weird thoughts, I know :P

close up of a room interior through curtain wall of a hotel

What do you think?


Jan 2021 Hong Kong

Colorful fruit stall along Sheung Wai
Today is 14 Aug 2021, 
 七夕 Qixi Festival in Hong Kong, but I am not going to write the story of it, instead, something about my yearly appointment on 1 January to Pok Fu Lam on the Hong Kong side.

Right after, I would walk towards Central to take the MTR way home. Before that, I must walked through the narrow streets "up & down" in Sheung Wan; which was enjoyable if you had "strength" and love the old stuff, like this. 

Well, we can still see this kind of stalls in some other old districts like Sham Shui Po, but always a bit different here, may be due to the sloped narrow streets and the "fainted" color of shops nearby. You would get the feeling of returning to the 70's - 80's liked travelling in time machine. 

I loved the kind of  "slow" motion, the aroma of livelihood, the tranquil moment while most of the people were still sleeping after the crazy night on the New Year's Eve... as well as the antique color that could always be captured.

I took this photo simply by my "ancient" iphone SE, as my usual practice, the lighting & color to be reflected as real at that moment as possible, that's the moment of us!

Actually there was the hawker inside, but I tried not to interrupt & therefore took this angle, which was fine provided my "models" were feeling comfortable :p


Before I left this district, one of my favorite spot, here...a very traditional Chinese sausage maker, I wished they would never replaced the incandescent light bulbs, never... the yellow tone that eventually vanishing !

Usually a lot more sausages will be hanging all along on those horizontal railings, by the end of January close to our Chinese New Year, imagine how spectacular it will be; the most happiest festival for Hong Konger, a few more months to go. 

I can't estimate what will going to happen in the coming months before my next visit in 2022, both the pandemic of Covid-19 or the political changes in Hong Kong, but I have confidence as always, hope in human nature...wish we & you all the best!


Along the Seine

Pont Neuf along the Seine in Paris
Pont Neuf - The Seine - Paris Oct 2019

Imagine, you can walk along The Seine, every morning, in the afternoon or at night, what do you think? To me? dream...dream...dream...I wish I could!

Once you've been there, trust me, you'll never forget the aroma of the breeze, humidity of the air, warmth of the sun, tranquility of the surrounding, so relax...

But on the same sunny day, while you are enjoying the fascinated twilight moment, a sudden shower arrive without alarm, together with crazy wind in the dark, sometimes cold and sharp. 

Watching people screaming with laughter to look for a shelter like myself, it's funny and still, lovely! Yes, this is a wonderful experience to live nearby, I did experience "Four seasons" in the same day, unforgettable and truly amazing.

My hotel was located on the Right Bank, if you love a more quiet place, you can choose those on the Left Bank, or even The Island in the middle; no matter where you are, simply Enjoy !


Why this for Book One?

Art Nouveau métro station entrance in Paris 1er
Hi, hi,

A forever love feature in Paris, it may be familiar with many of you, right? 

Art Nouveau, one of my favorite style, beautiful ornate details, feminine, soft & stylish. You can find this everywhere in Paris, just locate at every metro entrance, this is the one at Pont Neuf near The Louvre. Besides this, any where at shops, apartments, signage,
posters, architecture...,etc.

I especially love the arrangement of this station...instantly at my first sight. I saw this quite a number of times in design book or traveler's guide before, but when I were actually there, right in front, the joy is speechless...

When I touched the metal balustrade, feeling the crafted details of the flower stem, how they were extended to the railing, embedded & "melt" into the base; how it hold tight to "Metropolitain", the "blood red" flower bud not yet light up and will then transform into "Moulin Rouge red" at night; four illuminate round "dots" lead you to the aged underground world... I think I should stop here :P

So when I returned to Hong Kong, decided to begin my Book One, it was used as my reference to draw the book cover. 
I hope you like it ,too.


Petit Paris - Pont Neuf

First ebook Pont Neuf of Petit Series book cover
click to enlarge

Hi hi, 

It's been a while after our last chat, right? Cos' I am quite busy these days, to do what? To draw and write this, and finally released on Google Book this :D

Although it is only a short picture book that I've started with for this series, I did work onto it seriously, hopefully you can feel it, too!

Our publisher name is PROTOWORK,
you can find me from here also Oiseau Distrait

As a Welcome gift, a discount is offer right now until mid of March, Enjoy!

I am still working on to distribute in other platform such as Apple Book, and will be announced once it is ready.

If you would like to see the "story" of producing the watercolor painting inside, there will be another post in Cocoa Design Life Instagram a bit later, be our guest and hope to see you there :)

To write short, I better tell you "behind the scene" of this book in next post, good day!

P.S.- read book in landscape view to display double pages 


Magic moment at Tsukiji Market

Magic moment at old Tsukiji Market in Tokyo

It must be over 20 years of more, this photo was taken at the Tsukiji Market, our second visit to Japan; as far as I've remember, I was still using my Minolta SLR camera and this was scanned from my washed out photograph. 

When we arrived at around 7:00 am that morning, every workers had already finished their distribution work except some small shop like this one. We walked slowly and acted as quiet as possible to avoid disturbance, actually I was a bit disappointed while thought of nothing great would happened due to our late arrival, so I just looked around and wondering what were these guys still busy on?

Suddenly,  a beam of sun ray fell onto them in front of me, it was so beautiful...I just shoot without hesitation. 

Every time when I look at it, all my memories return...the huge high ceiling market, dark and wet, faint light bulbs in yellowish grey swinging above stalls, large or small; aroma of sea water mix with freshly scent of seafood, trucks here and there, noisy but energetic, so busy...and suddenly all gone......

It is still one of my favorite photo that I've ever took. I hope you like it, too.



Cocoa Studio Update

I have to write this post for three reasons:  

First of all, I must say thank you  to a blogger Ms. Emma, without her tutorial in 
I am still wasting time to find out a workable solution of building a photo gallery here.

Well, you may say why not using the "converting apps" from the market? After spending two whole days to test those apps and discovered, either they are not working smoothly inside Blogger, or with additional tons of codes that we really don't need, but the only reason to insert them is for their promotion banner. 

In fact, Emma share the simplest code and effective way to complete this job, the result is nice and sustainable without third parties control. Thanks again!

Secondly is the discontinue of Your Shot of National Geographic, a platform that we used to share our photos and learn from others. It's sad because it was a really good platform gathering professional & amateur photographers. So many good quality and amazing photos there to enjoy, comment from the supporting team are valuable; we were always longing for the "Photo of the Month". Although you can still find them in Instagram, most of us miss the Good old days.

Finally, as an amateur, to share what we captured in our own blog is the perfect place that we always wanted, but time...time...time...and now, this moment in Hong Kong, we are "trapped" at home, what a perfect time :P and so we did it.

If you do have a minute, why not visit our updated Cocoa Studio page, hope you'll like it.


Real Distortion

Lotus pond of Yiu Chung Yee Museum in Hong Kong

I've took this photo quite a long time ago, which was on the same day as the "fluorescent butterfly" in my Anti-gravity blog post , in Oct 2017. 

This is a really nice and tranquil place at Yiu Chung Yee Museum in Hong Kong, as far as I've remember, that was  a rainy day, so tourist were rare; i.e.: the best time for "photo adventure". I was looking for interesting view angle and by chance, this was what I had discovered. 

It looks a little bit weird, right? I mean the angle of view. The truth is, by normal, the direction of vanishing point should be 45 degree at NE, but I twisted my camera + my head, of course :D, to capture this almost isometric view, everything become weightless in a second, especially those furniture, so cool!

If the building at top left can be compressed a little bit more, it will be perfect, but as my usual practice, minimum PS touch is the best; so I  better leave it as it is to remind me they are distorted in real ! Hope you'll like it.


Anti gravity!

Yellow butterfly at Yiu Chung Yee Museum

A beautiful pale yellow butterfly,
enjoying her lunch 
after rain;

"so, la, la...
hey, you!
you are in a wrong way! "

Think out of the box,  pal! 
this is the reality :D

Urban Beauty






Inside Out

view from inside or outside
Inside Out

Abandon vs Freedom
Lonely vs Tranquility
No way out vs Change
Death vs Move on
To love vs Be loved

It all depends which side you are standing!


Minolta XD : My third camera

Minolta XD SLR camera
First of all, I have to apologize for your waiting to the review of my third camera, because it had already gone to somebody years ago, and that's why I need to find a photo online and thanks to WIKI.

O.K., here it is, my Minolta XD, actually in black. Yes! it's model no. is XD in Japan version :D

As far as I've remember I bought this in a kit set together with a standard lens of 50mm, which cost me a total of HK$1,600 something. My first 135 camera in almost 30 years ago; well, that's why there is no more "Minolta" today; but Konica Minolta. 

It's handy, rigid, easy operate, affordable price range that suits me as a design student. When I save enough money, I bought another Minolta zoom lens 70-210mm; followed by a Fuji 19mm that strange? Ha ha! 

As you know, wide angle is expensive but I do need one for my interior shot, and I was lucky because by the help of Ricketeer's friend who modify his second or even third handed Fuji mount to fit into my XD, Voila' !

1 Body + 3 Lens became my companion and partner for almost five years. So, they were my good memories of my "Good Old Days!" Thank you Minolta :)


It's HOT!

3 white duck at the pond in hot summer's day
let's swim 02

Yesterday, what a sunny weather for me to act : Ping Shan Heritage Trail. 
Well, obviously it was a visit for the traditional Chinese architecture, a village mainly developed by the Tang's generation at Hong Kong in the 12th Century.

The temperature was over 30 degree C, there were merely people around. I was attracted by the the reflection of a pond nearby, while I was focusing thru' my viewfinder;  a few school boys passed by and said "hello" to me, followed by some very noisy "UFO" language that I couldn't classify until three of them appeared into my screen range.

After a vigorous discussion, they had decided to cool down in the pond...enjoy!

let's swim 01
This immediately reminded me another scene, well, actually to call it as "set" may be more appropriate - when I was visited the Wet Land Park at Hong Kong in February this year.

Same hot day,  tranquil pond, three of them...relaxing!
if only if you can imaging :)


Hong Kong Wetland Park

colorful tree leaves below sunny blue sky

What a wonderful days we are having in Hong Kong this week, so I've decided to visit the Wetland Park. 

Most of us will be fascinating to the "tenant" inside : birds, fish, butterfly,...etc. So my original intention is  bird watching , especially when one of my friend told me that the best moment for this activity is in Winter (even it's a bit late); but to my surprise, there are candy like trees found somewhere in the park.

See, what a beautiful color they are under the clear blue sky. I took the first picture at around 2:00p.m. but I've decided to wait until 4:30p.m. for a second shot to capture the golden moment.

    red orange leaves under blue sky
So I got this lovely "mango like" leaves, too. If it is not God's creation, what can it be?

It seems quite strange that why there are still leaves on tree but not in fresh green during this early Spring time? The fact is some tree will keep their leaves but stop producing chlorophyll to reserve food for itself. Or otherwise, we will not have a chance to "meet" them.

My student always said that they are not well trained in design and therefore do not have the knowledge of color sense. But this is what I've replied and is absolutely true : color are around us everywhere in every moment, simply look and feel, you will be astonish and amazing in the nature of what God made for us.  Enjoy :)


what a year !

neon sign in Kowloon City

year after by day...
Kowloon City...
never change !



Making Pictures in the Rain

photo in the rain of old buildings
Before I write anything, I would like to share this article that really inspiring and  
Making Pictures in the Rain  a lot more fun :)

I am not a professional photographer thus can only shoot when not in work, plus "a Sunny Day"......which I thought it should be, at least to be easier to deal with the light source; in addition, I don't have any waterproof accessory for my camera, so it may be a disaster if it get wet.

May 2015 was so humid and kept rainy all days, even though I was free, I could only stuck inside house. By chance, I read the above article and fascinating to the photos inside, I wondered, might be I should try one I charged and packed my stuff, I told myself no matter what the weather tomorrow would be, I was ready to go!!

Ha Ha! God gave me a big challenge! It was Black Rain Signal when I saw the notice at MTR station, what I've got was an umbrella and a towel with my camera, then I thought, why not, just go......

To capture the special color tone and mood, interesting passengers' behaviour, or try using the "vivid" mode to brighter your target...these are wonderful experience that difference from taking pictures in sunny weather. 

Forgettable places express their emotion strongly in the rain, color appears more attractive when dust are clear from the dead air; a soft melody presented by rain drops act as your companion, the street is more remote for you to make use of every corner to set your camera, no one will bother you as they are sheltered inside store ......

A truly tranquil and enjoyable moment that I would like to experience more in this year ! Hope you get your moment, too !

street photo in Sheung Wan
no holiday 02




Red flower in vintage picture shot
It's Summer
2015年6月, 非常炎熱的一天, 一早經東涌乘車往大澳, 己經忘記了有多少個年頭没有到訪......

那種久違了的魚村風貌隨着年日消磨, 亦己改變了許多. 正當艶陽高掛, 我不知不覺間歩入了村民的"後花園", 被這從樹梢垂吊下來, 隨着熱風擺動的"小燈籠" 吸引着.

懂得攝影的你也會知道毎當要拍攝正午下背光景物時是需要稍為曝光過度オ可以把主體反映清晰, 所以心知這張照片會over. 

或許是我的壞習慣 : 喜愛正午影相卻又不大喜歡在電腦做太多後期調較; (因為雖然現在科技便利, 但仍然會眷戀着菲林時代的那種曝光限制)不過最基本的level 檢示是必需的, 但結果......我卻保留了沒有調較過的這一個版本.

Nikon D300
ISO 320
f 4.5


你會喜愛那個版本呢 ?


Nikon AF600 : my second camera

Nikon AF600 camera
You may wonder after my first 120 roll film camera, it's normal that an upgrade of 4x5 format should be used...ha ha!

This is what I bought at last: a 35mm roll film camera for "dummy", i.e.: fully auto. 

As far as I've remember it is a tiny size negative of 24nos. picture film, very cute when you compare with the 120 format side by side.

That's for sure it is a very handy camera, not much to be adjusted, absolutely risk free snap shot expert, easy to use and light weight. 

I used it not only for leisure but when capture site work when I was a junior......long...long...time ago :D . Look at the bottom right corner, see that "Panorama" mode? Yes, this was her strongest feature that attracted me; I still remember how she did her good job but unfortunately I can't find those old photos in my file. But no matter how, she was my best assistant...thank you!

P.S.: Even thought a fully auto camera or "A" mode can do most of the job, remember to use the focus lock (or half press shutter release) to lock your target image before framing - otherwise a blur image as a result but it's not the camera's fault.


Signal lamp in good old days
Creative works can be in team but most of the time, we are alone. Like many of other photographers, writers, sculptors, painters, designers...,etc. That's why we love the moment after mid night.

There is always another "world" for us to enter, once the shutter wide opened, writing paper and pen are ready, colorful acrylics are on the palette.....and, we are ready to be "Alone"!

Not everyone like this feeling, especially when we are not in good mood; but it definitely gives us an environment to have free thought, no burden, no reality, no right or wrong, just concentrate onto the next move, bit by bit, so quiet that it seems we are the only living creature at that moment.

I love to do editing of what I've shot in the day at night, too. When photos appear on the screen, they were framed not only the scenario, but the background "music", aroma, people and things happened around at that specific, "act" once again in front of me..."at Night" "Alone" !

You will be surprised to see there are much more other then what you've intended to capture, take your time, enjoy!