Archive for January, 2013

Hey Everyone,

At school I run an environmental issues group, and one of the causes we have been supporting over the last couple of years is the Hong Kong Shark Foundation. This is an NGO that is trying to restrict the sale of Shark Fins for soup which is a popular dish in Asia, especially at weddings etc. As in so many ways the fair city I live in leads the world in terms of the shark fin trade. (about 50% apparently passes through Hong Kong), and there is little or no regulation on it. At this moment in time the government still serves shark fin soup at official functions and the HKSF is trying to get them to stop doing this.

Some of you may have seen the photos of the shark fins drying on the roof top in Kennedy Town in Hong Kong recently http://gu.com/p/3czgv/iw . They were taken by Paul Hilton a Photojournalist (you can see some of his amazing work over at paulhiltonphotography.com) who is involved with a lot of charities and Environmental NGO’s.

Anyway the whole point of my post is that if you feel that this is something that needs to stop, then maybe you can fill out the petition I am linking below.

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/hong-kong-sar-government-make-it-public-policy-not-to-serve-shark-products-at-official-functions?utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=url_share&utm_campaign=url_share_before_sign

Thanks a lot in advance for those of you who sign.

Jamie.

 

 

 

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So the weekly photo challenge is Beyond. So I thought long and hard about this and what I wanted to post up. I decided in the end that I wanted to go for a few images from Mongolia.

I have been to Mongolia twice,both of them in the summer time. The first time I was doing the Trans-Siberian railway from Beijing to Moscow, and I stopped for four days in the Ulan Bator part of the country. (I was actually riding the train from Hong Kong all the way to where my parents live in North Wales, but that is a story for another time.) Anyway I loved the beauty of the country and how welcoming the people were. I think the contrast from Hong Kong was ultimately what made it such a great place for me.

Anyway fast forward a year and I decided that I wanted to go and see more of the country. So on the train I went again all the way back to Beijing and then on to Mongolia. I arrived in the Gobi Desert, the first stop of my trip at a place called Sainshand. Now I figured that as I was in a desert it would be dry, it rained every day that I was there. As part of that stop I went to the Khamar monastry a must see sight according to my guide, I was not so sure. Anyway we arrive at the temple and the first sight to greet me was,

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Yes they look like a pair of breasts. Apparently women come and give offerings in the form of rice and milk that they throw on top to increase their chances of becoming pregnant.

Then we went in to the main part of the monastery and were greeted by this,

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Apparently the eyes look evil to some and fine to others, and which one you see has something to do with your mood.

Now my guide was telling me that the monastery is a location that has a lot of positive energy and so people come from all over to stand in the circles that are considered to be powerful, or in her case to lie down.

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So she was connecting to the other side, which was where the idea for beyond came to me.

What I thought was ironic was that she then proceeded to call her family from the circle to spread the good luck. Which is so common that one of the mobile phone companies has a mast in the middle of the desert.

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With bare feet for a better connection. Not to the mast but to the energy.

After four days I moved on and managed to get an image that was much more what I remembered of Mongolia, but again with a spiritual connection.

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Admittedly the link here is to shamanism, and not Buddhism. But this is one of my favourite shots from the trip. You will find them dotted all over the country on top of the hills.

In total I spent three and a half weeks in Mongolia on the second trip, with a lot of photos. All of which were taken on my Samsung WB 700 point and shoot camera.

So there is my contribution to beyond. A link to the spiritual side of my trip to Mongolia.

So the weekly photo challenge is Illumination. My powers of premonition are strong, or as Yoda would say the “force is strong in this one”. I say this because I was only saying the other day that I was going to go down to TST (Tsim Sha Tsui is on the Kowloon side of the Victoria Harbour and is famous for the Avenue of the stars, Star ferry and the best place to see the Symphony of lights show) and take pictures of the light show.

The light show kicks off every night at 8pm and is the biggest permanent light show in the world according to the Guinness book of World records. It involves a lot of the prominent buildings on the Hong Kong side of the channel using lasers and lights to ” dance” to music (Yes Kowloon buildings get involved as well but most people do not notice them.). It is not without its controversy a few years back an environmental group wanted to do lights out Hong Kong to highlight the problem we have with air pollution. They scheduled it to start at 8pm and it would last 3 minutes, which of course is right when the light show was due to start. they asked the then Chief  Executive Donald Tsang to delay the light show until after the event. He promptly said no stating that it would “give adverse publicity to Hong Kong as an international metropolis and a major tourist attraction.”

So fast forward to now I decided that the lights of the harbour would be perfect for the theme illumination. So off I went to the harbour and started taking pictures of the show.  The shot I got below is the one I have chosen, it shows the lasers from the top of the two IFC (International Finance Centre) towers. IMG_4632

I am sure that lots of other people have the same idea as me. But I figured that sometimes the obvious choice is the best choice. What could be more illumination than the Worlds biggest permanent light show!

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Posted: 10/01/2013 in Weekly Post.
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I am pretty busy at the moment but I have some ideas for where I am going to take pictures this weekend. I want to get some of the IFC from the west Kowloon promenade. I was down there for New Year’s Eve, the fireworks were not great but I thought I want to get some shots from here when I have less drunken idiots around. 
 
Anyway I hope to get some good shots and update them on Monday.

 

 

The First week of 2013.

Posted: 07/01/2013 in Weekly Post.

So I have decided to get back in to my digital SLR photography after a hiatus of about 2 years just using a point and shoot camera.

The hiatus came about due to a belief that the SLR was too bulky to take on my travels following a trip to Mongolia and along the Trans-Siberian railway. I did the whole trip from Hong Kong to my parent’s house in north Wales about 3 years ago, taking about a month. The problem was that on the trip I was carrying stuff I needed for work, all the clothes for the journey and gifts to take home as well. Then on top of that I had the Camera. The camera added a lot of weight and was kind of annoying to carry around, yes I got a lot of good shots but the extra bag was a real problem.

So when I returned to Mongolia the following year for an extended stay I decided to invest in a fairly decent point and shoot camera. The camera worked well and more importantly was small, and therefore did not take up any room in my one rucksack. But in my mind I had a nagging doubt that I was missing out on some great shots that I could get with the SLR.

Fast forward a year and I was going to go on a trip with work. (I am a teacher at an International School in Hong Kong.  This is the reason for the month-long train journey and other great summer holidays. I know lazy teacher who does not work for half of the year.) The trip was a week without walls in South Africa (10 day to be precise.) We were going to be working in the Kalahari Desert in a school doing some teaching and building a vegetable garden, plus we were going to go on safari at Pilanesberg national park. I knew that this was an opportunity not to be missed with the SLR. So I dug it back out and checked it out and realised that I was glad to be holding this bigger and chunkier camera again. More importantly everything still worked with no sign of mould, (Mould is a problem in Hong Kong due to the high humidity and cool winters) thank god I packed it all away with desiccation stuff.

Anyway so off I went to South Africa and boy was I happy, I had an amazing time on the trip (Adventure week at school has always been a real perk of the job), The people are incredibly friendly, and the wildlife was stunning. There is nothing as amazing as being within ten metres of a pride of lions that are marching down a trail towards you, or the site of a young angry bull elephant in Musth.

Anyway fast forward to now. I have decided that I want to share some of the photos that I have taken over the course of a week or photos that I have decided to dig back out and work on. I will probably share about 3 or 4 a week with a little information about what they are and my story behind them. A lot of them will be from Hong Kong but there will be others from elsewhere in the world, from my various adventures and holidays.

I am going to start off this week with some of the photos that I have taken in South Africa.

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This is Girdion. He was one of the boys that met us on the first day that we arrived in Battlemount in the Kalahari Desert. He was a natural model who kept saying take a picture of me. He also helped in the development of the new kitchen garden area, until we found out that he was skipping class to be there!

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This is my work colleague being “mobbed” by kids at the end of the day. She was taking a photo and I thought it would be good to get one from the opposite angle.

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This is one of my favourite shots from the Kalahari visit, I just love this girls smile. and the way she is peeking out from behind her classmate.

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The angry bull elephant on the morning safari. you can see that he is in Musth because of the glands on the side of his head. I missed a really good shot of this elephant because our School group guide stood up just as I was taking it. He was up on his hind legs at the time and was not a happy camper, apparently it is rare for them to do that in the wild. I got a lot of pictures of this elephant but I only got the tail end of the rise up as he was coming back down. Oh well he was still impressive.

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Lioness from the night safari. When I took this picture she was about 8-10 metres from me. Our safari guide had spotted them in the distance and said “I know where they are going”. So we raced off at break neck speed to where they were going to be. It was perfect we watched them come out of the bush and passed behind our vehicle. They knew we were there the whole time, but they completely ignored us until this point when she looked across at us.

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These are 3 baby White-Brested Nuthatches I believe (please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks to Stephen Ransome for pointing out that I was wrong, apparently they are Young Pearl Breasted Swallows. (Hirundo dimidiata)) they were sat on a branch waiting for mother to return with food. I met a guy here who was rocking two canon 1D cameras with the 500mm lenses and extenders, he had some amazing photos of these being fed. Unfortunately I could not stay long enough to do the same. I just loved the way they were constantly scanning the sky for threats.

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A shot of a beautiful coloured bird through a bush. I believe it is a Southern Masked Weaver, We saw a similar bird to this in the Kalahari that was actually weaving a nest in a tree near the place we were staying at.

I know I said I would only put up 3 to 4 pictures, but I could not help myself. It was hard enough to leave out rhinos from a distance and the Giraffe up close. Plus the many photos of the students in the desert.

Anyway more to come and I hope you like the images.