All posts by Anson

Dragon Boat Race (Hong Kong) – Fujifilm Xpro2

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The weather was excellent on last Sunday afternoon. I went to the open area in Admiralty right in front of the Central Government Office together with Fujifilm X-Pro2 and two lenses in my bag, 23mm f2 WR and 35mm f2 WR. By coincidence, I found out there is a dragon boat race competition happening in the waterfront. So I chose to use 35mm because it is more tele and I want my images to be clean and focus only on certain subjects. 35mm on Fujifilm is equivalent to 50mm in 135 Full Frame format.

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Dragon Boat

Dragon boat is a human powered watercraft with team paddling together in the race.There was history about a minister called “Qu Yuan” tracing back to 278BC. After his suicide for patriotism, people beat drums and splashed the water with the paddles to prevent fish from eating his body. This is the story that I learned from high school. We eat “zongzi” as a traditional food, one of them made with beans and meat and the other one made with lotus seed paste. I prefer the later one that is sweet and with nice texture. And this festival occurs in every year in June.

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This is my first time shooting in dragon boat festival, I have seen it so many times from TV and I wanted to capture it with strong focus on composition. The Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera was set at AF-S mode, Auto exposure, Aperture at F/11 and maintaining ISO at 400, which I want to freeze the dragon boat rather than having a motion blur. Most importantly is to use AF-L to lock the focus in infinity to have faster capturing speed. Overall the Fujifilm XF 35mm f2 WR is a nice and compact lens for any type of street activities. This is definitely my choice during the day.

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Peng Chau Island with LomoChrome Purple

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A weekend getaway to different islands in Hong Kong is another great options for a warm sunny Saturday. Peng Chau is one of my favourite island though it is not as big as Cheung Chau but the vibe and quietness attracted me to re-discover this little outlier.

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LomoChrome Purple XR 100-400 is a Lomography negative film trying to bring back the impression and colour tone of the famous Kodak Aerochrome. This single roll of film has been sitting together with the rest of my unused film for almost half a year. Since the weather was so good on that day, I decided to take it with me and shoot something differently with a Hasselblad Xpan II, Panoramic format.

After loading the film into the panoramic camera. There is one question immediately came to my mind. Which ISO speed should I use? The film was indicated 100-400 on it’s package. I read a few blogs and articles about this film most of them suggest you to shoot at ISO 200 to give the best result of its purple tone. Then I changed the ISO setting at the back of my Xpan to ISO 200. Some suggested to use ISO 100 when the environment is darker, in this case some shots was slightly overexposed by one to half stop. Through composition and guessing the colour effect from this film was fun because it is something new to me. Last time I had this feeling was with the Kodak High Speed Infrared black and white film.

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Peng Chau Island is so nice because of it’s size. Great for pairs or some photo hobbyist to spend a full day just to walk around on this beautiful island. It has some nice beaches, scattered buildings and there is no tall buildings which was great.

We walked from ferry pier to get some local “Char Charn Tang” food and then continue the journey along the beach. After that we went up to Finger Hill then moved to walk along the coastline.

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20 shots were fired and the film safely returned in the film canister. I sent the film to trustworthy lab – Colorluxe Express in Wan Chai Jaffe Road. And I got the scanned copy on the same day.

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So now, red became purple, blue became cyan. The mood is quite special to me. I think I will try to shoot one or two more under different environment but definitely not my essential negative film. But worth to give it a try!

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9 months with Leica M10

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After six months of waiting, it is arrived with a huge label on the box printed with “LEICA M10 BLACK CHROME” I couldn’t describe my happiness with words. Because it has been a long mental debate of repurchasing M9 or M240 or just wait for this new camera. This has been the camera I want most after I sold my Leica M9-P and decided to wait for this new Leica digital camera.

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Honestly, I love Leica in black paint way more than black chrome. It was something that initially put me on Leica’s spot. Not about the red logo, its about the creamy bokeh and the glossy black paint nicely brassed with use. The black chrome finish from M10 was so good but to a perfectionist, that isn’t something good enough.




With the brand new M10, I took some street snaps in Hong Kong. I was happy that Leica finally has a proper digital rangefinder camera. However, at the same time I was disappointed again because I thought the camera can deliver more than this.

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The huge viewfinder is the thing that I love most but I prefer the frameline display in there even when the camera is switched off which it took me some time to adapt. And there is some weird LED red light showing while I was trying to half press the shutter button.

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Leica M10 failed to deliver the character of the old lenses. To a person that love nearly all of the vintage Leica lenses, the picture doesn’t have the mood. It performs really well with ASPH lenses with razor sharpness and natural colour. Leica M8, M9 and M240 they all gave us great image quality even when you are using some vintage glasses. But it just missed out something. I brought it to Cuba to test it out. It is absolutely amazing under low light environment and the white balance is accurate. Images were great but I demand more than that.

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Is it my problem to have expectations set too high for this US$7,300 camera? I still remember how happy I was with M8 and M9, like a kidult. How colour and dynamic range impressed me. Except the ISO performance, huge VF and yes, it has rangefinder coupling, it didn’t amaze me. I guess most of the people agree that Leica camera gave you unique “mood shot”, it gives you atmosphere that you will never find in DSLR or Mirroless world but I doubt it now.

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After all, maybe this is the end of story about my fantasy on Leica digital camera. It is more about the mood shots from Leica. I am going to save my money and focus with Fujifilm X-Pro2.

2 Months later, I sold my Leica M10 and changed it to Fujifilm X-Pro2.

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Switching from Leica M10 to Fujifilm X-Pro2

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If you have read about my Photography Journey for the past 8 years. You would have known that I have been shooting extensively with Leica film and digital camera (M8, M9). But recently I made a move. Sold my Leica M10 for a second hand Fujifilm X-Pro2.

“WHY?” this is exactly the response from most of my photography friends. And yes, I sold 4 out of 8 of my leica glass too. Because by judging the outlook and ISO performance of Leica M10 outbeat the X-Pro2. But what are the key factors for such a big move?




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The concept is really simple as I want camera to be my “tool”. What I meant is that I don’t need to worry about getting the most correct exposure with a light meter. Some people might think doing manual focus is really cool, but in fact when I wasn’t doing hyperfocus I can easily miss quite a number of shots. But now with X-Pro2, it re-ordered my photography workflow for me. I would love to try everything now mainly because of its fast autofocus. Frame with the OVF. If I want my pictures with precise framing, I will quickly switch to EVF with the handle on the right hand side of the camera, right beneath my middle finger. These seriously helped with my photo creation process. But the truth is, it increased my successful rate of getting pictures that I want.

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I am having the Fujifilm X-Pro2 in my bag every day since then. I started to try out more with different focal length, 18mm and 56mm XF lenses (28mm and 85mm in 135 equivalent) which I never would have thought about getting one. To Kwa Wan was the first testing site with this camera set up and I fell in love with this camera.

Nothing is perfect, there is something I don’t like about the camera start time. Leica M10 gave me instant start up with only 1 second from “off” to “on”. Also, if you keep the X-Pro2 with the battery on, after a while the sleep mode with really put the camera in bed. But these flaws doesn’t stop me from being a little Fuji fan.

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Can’t wait to use it in this coming weekend. I will explain more about my experience with the X-Pro2. Hopefully to continue my little project on “Framing in the city – Hong Kong”

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https://www.instagram.com/p/BkW2XsrlVkm/?taken-by=tahusa

 

Street Photography Guide in Centro Havana (Cuba)

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Street Photography Guide in Centro Havana (Cuba)
Cuba is often crown as one of the most photogenic cities for street photography lovers. I’m sure you have all come across the extensive work on this magical place by famous Magnum photographers such as David Alan Harvey, Alex Webb, Elliott Erwitt…etc. No difference to those of you who are inspired by and are curious of this place, I decided to pack my bag one day and off I went on an almost 30 hours journey to Havana.

going-home-with-mama-and-kids-n-centro-havana-wandering-cuba-taken-with-hasselblad-xpan-II-xpanII-45mm-pano-panoramic-camera-agfa-vista-400Afternoon walk, Havana Cuba (Hasselblad Xpan II with Agfa Vista 400)
car-making-left-turn-in-centro-havana-next-to-malecon-agfa-vista-400-street-snap-photography-guide-leica-summilux-35mm-1.4-asph-fleGoing left in Malecon, Havana Cuba (Hasselblad Xpan II with Agfa Vista 400)

I had a lot of fantasies about this place before I actually arrived at the airport. My head kept replaying some of the scenes I saw from movies and Instagram. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but certain for one thing – to try live with the vibe and capture something that represents the Latin America colours.

The-gas-station-petrol-next-to-Malecon-sunset-busy-repair-car-Leica-M10-digital-summicron-35mm-travel-street-photography-guide-centro-havana-cubaDaily life, Havana Cuba (Leica M10) (left) (Leica MP with Agfa Vista 400 (Right top, bottom)
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One Step in and You Enter a Different World
You don’t have to wait till you land at the José Martí International Airport to feel that you are officially separated from your family, friends and loved ones (if you’re not traveling with them). Everything in Havana exists as if time has frozen. Highly restricted internet access is probably the first and most significant hit you would get on your first day but to be honest, I actually grew to enjoy time with no instant messages and social media towards the end of my trip, it made me appreciate the time and attention for quality conversations with my traveling partner and the new friends I met.

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Barber-shop-visit-portrait-of-client-local-cuban-in-centro-havana-tahusa-leica-film-summilux-35-1.4-asph-fle-travel-tips-guides-haircutbarber-shop-haircut-salon-fc-barcelona-supporter-centro-havana-cuba-agfa-vista-400-leica-film-analog-35mm-summilux-1.4-asph-fle-street-guide
car-fleeing-speed-drive-driveway-highway-in-centro-havana-next-to-malecon-agfa-vista-400-street-snap-photography-guide-leica-summilux-35mm-1.4-asph-fleVintage Cars, Havana Cuba (Leica MP Summilux 35/1.4 asph fle with Agfa Vista 400)
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You know those vintage cars that you see in the opening scene of Fast and Furious 8? Well, they are literally everywhere. They are also known as ‘almendrones’, a popular means of local transportation. If you are feeling touristy, there are car tours that you can sign up so you get to enjoy the sun and breeze while zooming through the allies and lanes of Havana.

soldiers-marching-centro-havana-wandering-cuba-taken-with-hasselblad-xpan-II-xpanII-45mm-pano-panoramic-camera-agfa-vista-400Marching, Havana Cuba (Hasselblad Xpan II with Agfa Vista 400)
Gas-station-men-entering-vintage-vehicle-in-centro-havana-cuba-summicron-35-leica-m10-street-photography-guide-travel-tipsVintage Vehicles, Havana Cuba (Leica M10 (Left) (Leica MP Agfa Vista 400 (Right top and bottom)
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One point to note, its vibes during the day and at the night are very different, I still remember vividly the moments when I stepped out of the airport arrival hall to when I was greeted by my first hostel owner, I was in this super intense yet excited mode the whole time; these mysterious scenes and landscapes hidden in the dark corners and shadows were constantly challenging my visual perceptions.

Navigating your way in the offline world
I love unplanned trips and city explorations but one thing that I can’t live without here is to have a map that orientates me to this new surrounding. Language barrier is one thing and there are too many split roads and back lanes that branches off the main streets, you can get lost very easily! Also, the meet up points for collective taxis are dispersed around the city, the map always comes in handy when you ask for direction, at least there’s something that the locals can point to!

Maps.me was my lifesafer, download it in advance. This app has a library of maps that covers other parts of Cuba and continents. Anyway, when in doubt, follow the main road, it’ll eventually take you to the city centre.

please-listen-to-me-phone-card-centro-havana-cuba-agfa-vista-400-leica-film-analog-35mm-summilux-1.4-asph-fle-street-guideOffline World, Havana Cuba (Leica Summilux 35/1.4 asph fle with Agfa Vista 400 (Left and Right top bottom)
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A Natural Street Photography Heaven
Every corner and person, each sunshade and moment,  anything that came into my eye insights had my attention. The ever changing sceneries made it challenging to decide what I want to focus on, so I strongly recommend you to have a careful think about this and have a list ready, so that you don’t get too carried away with the buzz that goes on around you.

tight-fit-between-parents-motorbike-centro-havana-cuba-agfa-vista-400-leica-film-analog-35mm-summilux-1.4-asph-fle-street-guideLocal Neighbours, Havana Cuba (Leica Summilux 35/1.4 asph fle with Agfa Vista 400) (Left and Right)
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Some might think it’s easy to capture unique shots in Cuba but in fact everything is so typical that it looks as if it is staged: that perfect natural sunbeam and warm bouncing sidelights against the colorful walls and people, you’ll need some creativity on composition to add your signature to the photo. If you’re truly into street photography, I challenge you to take this extra step and visit other towns and neighborhoods located on the South East of Cuba, you may unveil more surprises. I personally like Trinidad a lot more than Havana, I wil explain the reasons in another post.

black-man-under-sunshine-next-to-colorful-vintage-car-centro-havana-cuba-agfa-vista-400-leica-film-analog-35mm-summilux-1.4-asph-fle-street-guideToo Sunny, Havana Cuba (Leica Summilux 35/1.4 asph fle with Agfa Vista 400)
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Suggested map
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Suggested spots

  1. Malecon
  2. Calle M Area
  3. Avenida de los Presidentes Main Road
  4. Monumento al General Antonio Maceo (Cross section)
front-view-of-Che-Guevara-Mausoleum-in-centro-havana-cuba-travel-photography-guide-street-trip-scenic-attractionsPlaza de la Revolucion, Havana Cuba (Leica Summilux 35/1.4 asph with Agfa Vista 400)
Hotel-Nacional-de-Cuba-iconic-place-in-havana-agfa-vista-400-summilux-35-1.4-asph-fle-leicaHotel National, Havana Cuba (Leica Summilux 35/1.4 asph fle with Agfa Vista 400)

Street photography tips in Havana

  1. People in Havana are more alert than other parts of the country, so you either do it quick or you make an effort to communicate with your subject so that they don’t feel ambush and less of a shock. This will also avoid you being asked for money after you pressed the shutter.
  2. Don’t get me wrong, Cuban people are kind but just stay alert to those who act overly generous, in case they have their eyes on your money instead. And for those who offer you restaurant suggestions, make sure it is the place that you want to go and not been forced into, the locals get commissions for bringing in customers.
  3. Sunglasses are the go-to neutral density filter (even better than your camera viewfinder!) And it saves you from the harsh highlight from the sun and gives you a better idea on composition.
  4. Always wear comfortable shoes. I walked an average of 25,000 steps each day and I have to lift my legs up for better circulation and reduce swelling when I go to sleep at night.
  5. Follow the light and the main road to the Malecon, there is always something interesting to capture.
  6. Bring a few more spare batteries, unlike other cities there is no way you can find a spare battery that could fit into your cameras.
neighbors-in-squart-complex-n-centro-havana-wandering-cuba-taken-with-hasselblad-xpan-II-xpanII-45mm-pano-panoramic-camera-agfa-vista-400Local Neighbours, Havana Cuba (Hasselblad Xpan II with Agfa Vista 400)
Street-around-hostel-in-centro-havana-wandering-cuba-taken-with-hasselblad-xpan-II-xpanII-45mm-pano-panoramic-camera-agfa-vista-400Local Neighbours, Havana Cuba (Hasselblad Xpan II with Agfa Vista 400)
workers-construction-n-centro-havana-wandering-cuba-taken-with-hasselblad-xpan-II-xpanII-45mm-pano-panoramic-camera-agfa-vista-400Construction Workers, Havana Cuba (Hasselblad Xpan II with Agfa Vista 400)

Money Exchange
There is an auto money exchange machine at the arrival hall of the Havana airport. But I also did some exchange at the banks in the city center. The best way is to ask your Casa owner for advice, it does take some time to familiarize yourself with the money system and the way they work.

Wifi Card
This is essential for you to keep in contact with your families and friends and of course for sharing your amazing photos on social media. Usually the wifi cards are available for sale at the park, you can get 1hr, 2hrs and 5hrs card. I would suggest you getting the longest hour option so you can go without wasting another hour in the queue. I was very conscious with the time limit, I have my eyes on the watch regularly and spend less than 20 minutes online each day. From my experience, 10am is the best queueing time because the sun isn’t too bright and there should be plenty of stocks. Look for the end of the queue when you get there, give a head nod to the person before you so the he acknowledges that you’re behind him, then you’re free to move around the area. When it’s almost your turn, just join the queue again.

block-and-complex-n-centro-havana-wandering-cuba-taken-with-hasselblad-xpan-II-xpanII-45mm-pano-panoramic-camera-agfa-vista-400
tree-and-green-man-blue-vintage-car-centro-havana-cuba-agfa-vista-400-leica-film-analog-35mm-summilux-1.4-asph-fle-street-guideFunny shape tree with vintage car, Havana Cuba (Leica Summilux 35/1.4 asph with Agfa Vista 400)
morning-yawn-in-front-of-telephone-stand-waiting-for-wifi-card-shop-in-centro-havana-cuba-Agfa-400-Vista-Leica-Summilux-35mm-1.4-asph-fle-11663-film-photography-guide-street-travel-travel-guide-tipscandid-man-under-sun-centro-havana-next-to-malecon-agfa-vista-400-street-snap-photography-guide-leica-summilux-35mm-1.4-asph-fle

TAHUSA Recommended Film ISO and Focal Length
I would suggest bringing your favourite film camera because it has a lot to shoot in the city itself. The light is always perfect so ISO100 film is good enough but if you want to do something more extreme in zone focusing, you may use ISO400 film and stay at F11 without worry about focusing and a 35mm lens would be a perfect match.

sports-stadium-in-centro-havana-next-to-malecon-agfa-vista-400-street-snap-photography-guide-leica-summilux-35mm-1.4-asph-fleSports Stadium, Havana Cuba (Leica Summilux 35/1.4 asph with Agfa Vista 400)
Stadium-sports-centre-in-centro-havana-next-to-malecon-agfa-vista-400-street-snap-photography-guide-leica-summilux-35mm-1.4-asph-fle
Taxi-in-the-corner-of-the-road-centro-havana-cuba-dim-light-evening-travel-street-leica-m10-summicron-35mm-f2-IV-rangefinderTaxi, Havana Cuba (Leica M10 Summicron 35/2 pre-asph V4)
local-produce-farmers-in-truck-delivery-centro-havana-cuba-after-sunset-dim-light-leica-m10-summicron-35-travel-street-photography-guide-tahusa-tipsafter-sunset-getting-dark-in-centro-havana-cuba-not-many-street-light-dark-returning-casa-leica-m10-summicron-35-travel-street-guide-photography-tips

 

Check out other City Guides

Street-photography-guide-yangon-myanmar-film-shooters-tahusa-traveller-travel-attractions-list

Street-photography-guide-in-mongkok-mk-banner-travel-guide

 

31 Film Cameras, 73 lenses in 8 Years – My Film Cameras and Gears Journey

8-years-film-cameras-and-gears-journey-enjoy-film-analog-leica-MP-black-paint-analog-leicavit-summilux-35mm-1.4-asph-fle-11663-copy

Endless Gears Upgrade
The shallow depth of field or the lack of “bokeh” was one of the main reasons for the change.

Bokeh-of-sakura-blosoom-taken-with-M9P-leica-Noctilux-50mm-f1-e58-large-aperture-lens-kyoto-japan-philosophy-walk
Creamy Bokeh from Noctilux 50mm f1.0, Japan 2016



From Canon 50mm f1.2 LTM to Noctilux 50mm f1.0, my later photography years were a period of endless gears upgrade as I focused heavily on the character of the different lenses. Trying the “King of Bokeh” Summicron 35/2 version 4 was not enough, I upgraded to Summicron 35mm f2 V1, “8 elements”, and this beast has a special power in bringing black and white images to the next level.

You know that feeling when your instinct tells you something isn’t right? I definitely get that with cameras. I’ve listed the gears I tried below. For some, I almost knew immediately that they won’t be the ones I keep, but for others, I might have owned them a couple of times. I strongly believe that the gears you own represent your photography mindset at the point in time; people’s taste and perspective change at different stages, there should be no shame in wanting to try something new out of your usual gears, it’s the variety that would lead you to another stage.

collection-of-cameras-M10-leica-M240-Nikon-F2-film-cameras-rangefinder-MP-black-paint-gears-lenses-28mm-summicron-elmarit-leica-M2-LeicavitCamera and lenses line up (Leica M240, M10, MP, M2 and Nikon F2)
Camera-gears-brought-for-trip-in-japan-2014-sekonic-lightmeter-leica-m2-summicron-35mm-v1-film-photography-voigtlander-vciiLeica-M9P-on-table-with-summilux-11663-FLE-Steel-rim-35mm-1.4-noctilux-50mm-f1-e58-v1-goggle-MS-optica-35mm-f3.5-50mm-1.4-v2-kanto-repaintedMaster-yu-repairing-my-leica-lens-repairman-in-hong-kong-specialistvintage-leica-lenses-on-table-with-summilux-11663-FLE-Steel-rim-35mm-1.4-noctilux-50mm-f1-e58-v1-goggle-MS-optica-35mm-f3.5-50mm-1.4-v2-kanto-repainted-summicron-35mm-f2-v1

In 2014, I had my first backpacking trip in Germany, that’s when I forced myself to pack one camera and two lenses only. Surprisingly, it was a very pleasant experience. Given that I had so few equipments to play around with, I had a lot of time to fully understand the characteristics and performance of the different lenses and films at a short time. By the end of it, it even got me started on colour negative films.

Surfers-surfing-in-English-Garden-Germany-Hasselblad-Hassel-Xpan-45mm-f4-pano-panrama-panoramic-scenic-view-Kodak-Ektar-100-iso-100-low-speed-film-film-photography-film-shooter-Leica-lens-travelHasselblad Xpan is one of my favourite travel buddy

After so many years, my philosophy is this: to only have one lense at each focal length. Just pick up a lense that you like most, at its best focal length, and start compositing. I am more of a rangefinder person than film SLR because I find rangefinder coupling easier to use. I tried many SLR cameras including Nikon F2, F100, Canon F1, point and shoot cameras Yashica T5, Rollei 35 (and the list goes on), but none of them gave me the full control. After all, I would still choose my Leica M2 over others.



Exploring the Medium Format Cameras
My dark age came in 2013 when I sold all of my beloved Leica cameras. It took me almost a year to start looking at cameras again and that is when I ‘met’ Hasselblad 500CM. I have never tried medium format before and I thought, why not give it a go and see if it can help me pick up my photography passion again.

Hasselblad-500cm-80mm-2.8-Planar-Carl-Zeiss-Medium-format-camera-6x6-120format-hong-kongHasselblad 500CM and Portrait taken with Fujifilm Pro400H
Fay-portrait-taken-with-hasselblad-500cm-80mm-carl-zeiss-CT*-pro400H-Fuji-film-photography-color-negative

I quickly moved from 500CM to GW690II simply because I found the focusing screen hard to use and hard to handle. The Texas Leica is very reliable but it was never my first preferred camera, so I found him a new home in 2018. I have tried Pentax 67 twice in 2017, the images impressed me so much, the creamy bokeh from the 105mm f2.4 was superb it was slightly heavy to be carried around. I brought the “Tank” with me on a trip before but I sold it right after, that was when I knew I am not a medium format person.

Tank-medium-format-camera-grip-Pentax-67-6x7-camera-120format-SLR-105mm-f2.4-lensPentax 67 with 105mm f2.4
Japan-Travel-trip-with-family-Gary-in-forest-pentax-67-6x7-medium-format-120-120format-RDPIII-RDP-Provia-Fuji-Fujifilm-Japan-Gunma-Snap-55mm-f4-asahiFujifilm RDPIII with Pentax 67, Japan 2017
Medium-format-camera-Fuji-fujifilm-GW690II-6x9-rangefinder-filmrangefinder-EBC-super-120format-film-texas-leica-gearFujifilm GW690II(aka Texas Leica)
Fuji-fujifilm-acros-100-iso-black-and-white-film-hong-kong-tung-chung-GW690II-texas-leica-shot-samplesMacau-ferry-terminal-Hong-Kong-HK-geometry-JCH-japan-camera-hunter-street-pan-400-iso-black-and-white-bw-film-review-analog-GW690II-fujifilm-medium-format-120Film pictures from GW690II

I am sure everyone has their own habit and preference in capturing images with different cameras. For me, I try to really understand the camera by using it, but if I can’t comfortably enjoy its companion, I will get rid of it. I tried not to have too many items in my dry cabinet. I landed with a Rolleiflex 2.8F in 2017, hoping this creamy lens will do the magic for me. But indeed, this 120 format didn’t work out. I think the reason was because I couldn’t break my personal style and shape it to fit this camera. But if you are a portrait person, you should definitely try the medium format.

portrait-of-me-using-rolleiflex-kodak-tri-x-black-and-white-2.8E-6x6-medium-format-camera-TLRSelf Portrait with Rolleiflex 2.8E
Sister-portait-using-ilford-HP5-hong-kong-bokeh-Rolleiflex-2.8E-TLR-6x6-night
Camera-gears-Mamiya-C330-TLR-6x6-medium-format-120-tripod-cheaper-option-to-start-withMamiya C330 in black and white film
Fishermen-swim-catching-seafood-hong-kong-lei-yu-mun-Mamiya-C330-TLR-medium-format-120-6x6-square-format-Ektar-100-Kodak-seaFisherman in Lei Yu Mun, Hong Kong (Ektar 100)

Out of Curiosity: Large Format Photography
Now that you are halfway through my article, the logical guess for my next step would obviously be large format. To backtrack slightly, I actually tried Large Format Cameras at a much earlier stage when I was picked up photography because I felt the best way to understand the subject is to start with the traditional equipments. I spent quite some time with the Chinese made Shenhao 4×5 camera sitting on the tripod, a Petzval classic brass lens and a Schneider 210mm f5.6 lens, shot mainly with black and white sheet film and Fujifilm Instant Pack Films.

My-large-format-photography-set-up-shenhao-4x5-sheet-film-gitzo-tripod-schneider-210mm-5.6-LFI was shocked and impressed with the image results from large formats, and this 4×5 (10cm x 12.5cm in actual measurements) gives you rich textures and sharpness as the size of the film is so large. I like how large format photos gives you high quality and you can possess a basic weekend photoshoot set-up at a relatively cheap price. I believe there is always a trade off between size and quality, but I am happy that I experienced the whole process of shooting portraits with large format cameras and enjoyed the time with friends walking around with this wooden box. Its emphasizes is on the communications between the subject and the photographer. You are moving from an “Observer” position to an actual “Involver” place. You stimulate the photographing process because the portraits and movement require extra care. Each shot requires the subject to stay still until the shutter is pressed and usually this process might take up to 2 minutes – focus, check the reading, set the lens aperture, change the aperture back to normal mode and shutter speed, make sure the subject is still holding the position then insert the film black, remove the plate, take the shot.

This form of communication and trust furthered developed myself to be an “involver” in different photography environments, to quickly blend in with the shooting subject and environment.

Portrait-of-bryan-taken-with-4x5-sheet-film-2011-large-format-photography-shenhao-4x5-schneider-210mm-5.6-portraitBlack and White Portrait with 4×5 sheet film (left) Fujifilm Pack film (right)
Bryan-protrait-taken-with-shenhao-4x5-large-format-polaroid-packfilm-fujifilm-black-and-white-fp3000b

From Black and White to Color – Golden Age
I first started shooting mostly with black and white films in 2010. Probably similar to many beginners, I was inspired by Magnum photographers. The form and texture of black and white are so strong that they capture the soul and mood of that moment, and at the same time, you can play around with the light and show easily. For my backpacking trips in 2014 and 2015, I shot only with black and white films, and used some color slide film when in Europe. But I still felt that something was missing. There should be warmth in a photo. I went to Cambodia in 2015 and started using color negative films to capture the vibrant colors in South East Asian countries (Cities Snap). I have seen so much work from photographers using color reversal films in these countries, with other popular countries including India, Cuba and Mexico. Before that, my Black and white to color films ratio was 9:1. Between 2016 to 2018, the ratio increased to 7:3, the 70% is color! In 2016, I bought a few rolls of Kodak Super Gold 400 (Jp Ver.), it is cheap with high quality and I especially like the warmth that Kodak films give me.

Bringing-40-rolls-of-film-to-develop-in-colorluxe-after-cuba-trip-in-december-cannister-analog-negative-C41Developing 40 rolls of film after Cuba trip
Nikon-f100-hanging-tree-35mm-f2D-SLR-filmSLR-film-photography-analog

My favourite black and white film is Kodak Double-X 5222 black and white film. But today, I try to use only 2 different films in Black and White and 2 different films for color. Ilford HP5 and Kodak Tri-X, Agfa Vista 400 and Kodak Portra 400. Occasionally I shoot some Cinestill 800T at night too.

Black and white, BW, B&W, film, analog, snap, snapshot, night tone, smooth, self develop, HC-110, ilford HP5, HP5, iso400, pushed 2 stops, 1600, iso 1600, 黑白, 黑白攝影, 菲林黑白, 新手, beginner guide, ilford DDX, Kodak, Eastman, 5222, motion picture, cinefilm, cine, double-x, doublex, XX, double x, what black and white film to shoot with, other brand, try film, test filmKodak Double-X, Berlin Germany 2014
children-chasing-around-in-waterfront-documentary-in-sri-lanka-colombo-galle-face-green-local-life-kodak-supergold-400-iso400-Leica-summilux-35mm-f1.4-FLE-ASPHthrowing-stuff-documentary-in-sri-lanka-colombo-galle-face-green-local-life-kodak-supergold-400-iso400-Leica-summilux-35mm-f1.4-FLE-ASPHKodak Super Gold 400, Colombo Sri Lanka, 2017

Seasonal changes of a photography journey
It changes depending on the your mood state at the point in time. Have you ever wondered why human has to try so many things, go through trial and error, before knowing what we truly like? Sometimes, I find myself quite stupid, wasting so much time to go round a big circle before finally landing at where I am now. But on the other hand, I know I need that experience. Each small incident from these great memories made me clearer and clearer of what I really want to shoot, and my preference of color palette in the digital world. Another big benefit is, once you have tried everything, you will grow this sense of content with your inner self, and that made me less prone to making impulsive purchase significantly.

Taking-pictures-of-children-kids-with-leica-in-trinidad-cuba-travelling-in-central-america-filson-backpackTaking pictures of local people in Trinidad and Havana Cuba 2017
Me-taking-pictures-of-skateboarders-in-cuba-havana-iphone-behind-the-scene-travelling-in-central-americaBehind-the-scene-i-was-capturing-pictures-of-local-in-Trinidad-barber-shop-travelling-in-central-america-filson-backpack-magnum

What Camera am I using now
So 8 years in, what is my current photography goal? The hardest thing to achieve is not about mastering a camera so that you take a good picture, but how to use a camera to create your own series of images that tell great stories. My ultimate goal is to be able to establish a colour tone and composition style that is unique to my character. I am satisfied with my Leica M2 who has been a great traveling companion; my other favourites also include Hasselblad Xpan II for panoramic shots and the pocket size Rollei 35 T. Go take a look at this short interview clip “Film is alive” if you are interested, it captures some great views on film photography and I had the honor to be featured.

My-girlfriend-holding-my-hasselblad-xpan-xpanii-panorama-pano-panoramic-camera-film-photography-long-format-135-dream-cameraSummicron-competition-comparing-comparison-V1-vs-IV-pre-asph-35mm-f2-line-up-gears-leica-famous-popular-lenses
My-Leica-MP-with-Elmarit-28mm-viewfinder-f2.8-in-Hong-Kong-Cameras-gears-film-photography-lover-journeyMy-leica-mp-with-summicron-50mm-f2-rigid-repaint-black-kanto-leicavit-camera-film-gears

I love film photography because it not only let me capture the scenes I like but freezes the mood with it.

Share your own story
If you want to understand my first half of the journey, you may refer to the post “My Film Photography Journey Part 1”. I am sure you have a very unique and interesting story to tell, and I would love to hear it. Please share your story with me by leaving a comment below or email to me at tahusa.co@gmail.com.

my-8-eight-years-film-photography-journey-cameras-hasselblad-xpan-polaroid-one-step-2-reasons-why-i-started-shooting-film-how-to-begin-film-analog-leica-

8 Years, 32 Film Cameras, 500+ rolls of films – Beginning of My Film Photography Journey

my-8-eight-years-film-photography-journey-cameras-hasselblad-xpan-polaroid-one-step-2-reasons-why-i-started-shooting-film-how-to-begin-film-analog-leica-

8 Years, 32 Film Cameras, 500+ rolls of films – Beginning of My Film Photography Journey
8 years ago in June 2010, I came across this Japanese drama called “Sunao ni Narenakute” talking about how social network brings people together. In the first scene of the first episode, the main character was staring at a camera displayed in a shop, and it looked absolutely beautiful.

My head kept replaying that same scene over and over again, and at the end, I decided to google it. I typed in “Leica M7” and there I was, my very first introduction to this German brand. Not just that, for someone who shoots with digital cameras for most of his life, it was a very sad surprise at the time to find out that it is an analog camera.

travelling-with-leica-film-cameras-photography-blog-europe-map-shoot-film-begin-journey-personalMap of Prague when I travel with Film cameras

My-leica-m2-black-repaint-with-summilux-35mm-1.4-fle-asph-favourite-essential-camera

My First Film Camera
When someone is hooked to a camera brand, you know what’s next – I spent days and nights searching for the different Leica models.

To give you some background, I bought my first Canon 40D DSLR in 2009, then became super obsessedwith Bokeh, wanted to try out all the lenses and upgraded every single lense to premium Canon L prime and zoom lense. In less than a year, I decided to sell my entire Canon DSLR and Prime lenses family and give film camera a try with my first ever Leica, M6 with the famous 35mm f2 Summicron aka King of Bokeh. The shutter impressed me most, so quiet, stable and clean. But I felt that something was still missing, I kept asking myself “what, is this it, surely Leica has much more to offer other than its solid and simple design!?”

Sometimes, Simple Is Perfect
After a while, I fell in love with Lecia like everyone else for the very reason, its simplicity. It has distinct shutter dial, ISO dial, Aperture ring and film insertion process. The simplicity cleared my mind from the complex setting of DSLR. Of course, DSLR has its own benefits and its settings help professional photographers to achieve better results. At the time, my head was just fixed on taking nice pictures and wanted to leverage the best tools for best results. But after using Leica, it gave me a moment to step back and realize that mindset is equally important, if not more, than the gears you use. It’s all in your head.

color-reversal-film-in-medium-format-camera-mamiya-7ii-mamiya7ii-rangefinder-try-film-photographyInserting color slide film into Mamiya 7ii
how-did-i-pick-up-film-photography-ilford-hp5-reliable-black-and-white-film-leica-cameraIlford HP5 film with Leica M2



Begin the Journey with the First Roll Of Film
YouTube and Google taught me how to load a film. I can still remember my first roll of film – Black and White Ilford XP2. It marked the beginning of my film photography journey. I was dying to get the film developed after hitting the shutter 36 times. Phew. The relief I felt when I received the scanned copies from a local lab, I got all 36 shots exposed. They were definitely not appealing from a professional photography perspective but to me, they meant the world, a vivid memory that would stay with me for life. Even today, I am still in awe when I flip through my archive sheets for this collection, trying to recall the mood and thoughts when these shots were taken.

8-years-film-photograph-journey-how-begin-film-Rollei-black-and-white-film-camera-bw-sydney-australiaFirst black and white film shots with Leica M6 and Summicron 35, Sydney 2010
8-years-film-photograph-journey-how-begin-film-Rollei-black-and-white-film-camera-sydney-australiaBlack and white film shots in Bondi, Sydney
Canonet-film-photography-color-negative-sunset-sydney-australia-begin-photographyVery first film images taken with a Canonet, Balmain Sydney
Canonet-film-photography-color-negative-sunset-sydney-australia-begin-photography-yellow

Film Developing and Film Scanning by Myself
One day, my friend Franky said, “Hey Anson, let’s go shoot the Mardi Gras at Oxford Street”. Okay. I packed my film Leica with two 50mm lenses, hopped on the car, and off we go. After a quick ferry ride, we arrived at the Sydney City Centre.

In my bag there was Ilford HP5, Pan 400, Arista Premium 400 and Legacy Pro 400. These names shouldn’t be unfamiliar to you but unfortunately some have already discontinued. We shot from 2 to 9pm, then went home. Pouring, mixing and stirring, we got all the chemicals ready in the containers. Started with my favourite film developing app, Film Dev Chart, we began the process: develop, stop bath, fix, hypo clear. Twenty minutes later, I took the films out of the develop tank, hung it up and examined the picture one by one. I took a deep breath. I could have screwed this up in as many ways possible but yet I was so fearless.

leica-ilford-pan-400-Noctilux-50mm-f1-begin-film-start-photography-sydney-australia-bw-black-and-whiteSelf scanned and developed Ilford FP4 at ISO800, shot in Mardi Gras, Sydney 2011
leica-ilford-pan-400-summicron-collapsible-begin-film-start-photography-sydney-australia-bw-black-and-white-portraitleica-ilford-pan-400-summicron-collapsible-begin-film-start-photography-sydney-australia-bw-black-and-white
leica-ilford-pan-400-summicron-collapsible-begin-film-start-photography-sydney-australia-bw-black-and-white-portraits-dress-up-propsSelf-developed Ilford Pan 400, Sydney 2011

In all honesty, scanning films is not my favourite hobby, but I enjoy previewing the images from the negatives. The long hours needed for dust removal and color toning completely outweigh my interest in film. However, having improved my workflow consistently, I am now used to scanning black and white images only.

8 years on, I have tried Nikon Coolscan V, Epson V700 and V850, and the last one is what I still use now.

ilford-ddx-rodinal-developers-film-stop-bath-fixer-tried-photography-self-development-journey-black-and-whiteMy favourite developer Ilford DDX and famous Rodinal
darkroom-print-printing-of-my-work-on-photo-paper-black-and-white-bw-film-process-develop-test-papers-adjust-timedarkroom-print-printing-of-my-work-on-photo-paper-black-and-white-bw-film-process-developTrying to make actual prints in the darkroom

Second part of my Film Cameras and Gears Journey, please click the link below

8-years-film-cameras-and-gears-journey-enjoy-film-analog-leica-MP-black-paint-analog-leicavit-summilux-35mm-1.4-asph-fle-11663-copy



Street Photography Guide in Yangon

Street-photography-guide-yangon-myanmar-film-shooters-tahusa-traveller-travel-attractions-list

Street Photography Guide in Yangon
MYANMAR is a place that I have wanted to visit for a long time, but unlike other trips that I had, I went with no expectations. I packed my bags and spent three days at Yangon doing street photography. The trip ended with Bagan and Inle Lake, two must-go destinations for all travellers and street photography lovers.

Yangon-famous-attraction-must-go-Myanmar-Burma-Shwedagon-Pagoda-Ricoh-GR-Street-photography-guide-different-perspectives
Different-temples-inside-Yangon-famous-attraction-must-go-Myanmar-Burma-Shwedagon-Pagoda-Ricoh-GR-Street-photography-guide-7pm-night





Suggested Map in Yangon

Tahusa-suggested-map-in-yangon-street-photography-guide-2018

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Suggested Spots

  1. Shwedagon Pagoda
  2. Yangon Central Railway Station
  3. Konzedan Street Area

Magic Hour in Shwedagon Pagoda
I highly recommend you visiting the Pagoda in the late afternoon, so that you have time to familiarize yourself with the area, play around with the settings and start taking some shots. Pagoda at sunset gives you a very different colour tone, so make sure you leave enough time to experience the change in mood in such beautiful scene. Do remember to follow one of their traditions and walk anti clockwise, and make sure you look at every corner hard enough to identify your subject of interest.

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Yangon Central Railway Station
I went to this station twice, first time early in the morning at 6am and then at noon again. I recommend doing a few shots around the station when your inter-city bus arrives at the central railway station and the next time would be when you need to take the circular train from the central station.

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Area Around Konzedan Street with Special Architecture
At the end of Konzedan Street is the seaside. No beach, no people fishing, just a few big cruises parked by the bay. The shops and homes that you see while walking along Konzedan Street will give you a taste of the local life. They may look similar to those old and packed buildings in Hong Kong but yet they are unique in shapes in their own ways.

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Photography Tips for Shooting in Yangon

  1. Look them in the eyes and smile. If you want to take portraits of the local people, that is the secret language of getting their permission for pictures.
  2. Be observant and don’t be afraid to do repeated routes. If you spot an area that you like, go back and forth a few times, this would increase your chance of getting the shot right and at the same time keeping it candid. More often than not, you will get a photo with awkward facial expressions if it was taken static or one that you have been trying to capture by standing there a long time.
  3. Bring a compact camera. The weather is quite humid and hot during the day. Having too many gears around your neck or in you bag will decrease your mood to do street snaps. Imagine if you have to walk along a street 10 times just to get your favourite shot…
  4. Always, always have your mosquito repellent in your bag.
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My Three hours Circular Train Experience in Yangon
The circular train for sure is one of the reasons why I spent a few days in Yangon. The train ride took me approximately 4 hours (the full route takes longer to complete but I had to stop due to a small incident).

So it all began on a lovely Sunday afternoon. I stepped onto the train together with friends that I newly met at the hostel. Same as other tourists visiting Yangon, we sat down quickly as the train was quite empty. As it departs from Yangon Central Station, I started to wander around, moving from carriage to carriage to meet people and explore. It was full of kids and families. They told me they have picnics on the train as part of their weekly routine and they enjoyed the amazing view along the route.

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When I finished my first roll of film, I was joined by two kids. They looked at me and we smiled at each other. We couldn’t really communicate because I don’t speak Burmese and they don’t understand English but they were eager to introduce me the neighborhood by pointing at the passing sceneries.

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There were many local hawkers selling different snacks on the train. The kids bought a corn on the cob, broke it in half and gave a piece to me. As they were passing the sweetcorn to me, we exchanged eye contacts. At that moment, language barrier did not exist and the kindness from them was beyond any describable words. It was the highlight of my trip. For the people and its culture, I would love to visit Myanmar again anytime.

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TAHUSA Recommended Camera and Focal length
35mm and 28mm are both my favourite focal lengths to shoot in Yangon. I used my Summicron 35mm f2 V1 as well as Ricoh GRon for the the entire trip. I shot extensively with my point and shoot Ricoh camera because it is very compact and is highly adaptable under different environments. My only complain about the Ricoh is that I have to push at least one or two stops with the small aperture of f2.8 when the light is dim.

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Photos in Yangon
If you would like to view more pictures that I have taken in Yangon, you can find them in the link below
Cities Snaps

Street Photography Guide in Mong Kok

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Street Photography Guide in Mong Kok 旺角 at Night
Mong Kok is a very unique neighbourhood that is unlike any other places in the world, the closest equivalent that I can think of is the intersection at Shibuya, Tokyo. The city is also known as the ‘movie town’, it has great cinematic scenes, particularly for staging gritty gangster-driven fights. I would describe this top attraction in Hong Kong as a river with quick current. The place is packed with fast walkers, and if you are new to the city, you might be taken aback by their pace. General to the local culture, people may find it abrupt and intrusive if you try to capture shots up close. However, I do have a few tricks that could help you enjoy this photography heaven in a different way.

As an every day local street photographer, I would recommend the following spots if you are next in town.

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Is Ladies Market the Best Place to Start?
Some of you might think that the Ladies Market is the most attractive part of Mong Kok with the neon lights and the buzzing local traditional entertainments such as mahjong shops and massage parlour. I do agree with it in some way but for me, I like the Ladies Market at late nights, around 10pm, when the owners of the stalls start to pack up for the day, load the unsold goods onto the small carts, and move them back to the storage. This shows a very different side of the streets than its usual opening hours. Another habit of mine is to walk down the side aisles, the combination of dark corners and street lights give you more perspectives and angles to play with, this is the perfect opportunity for you to be creative.

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Shanghai Street Adventure

But if you want something more adventurous and a true local life experience, Shanghai Street is the place for you. It is two streets from the Ladies Market, near the Langham Place. It is full of traditional billboards and neon signs with prices of the different entertainments. I think you might have figured by now, it is a red light district. It is an exciting neighbourhood but just take extra caution when you are shooting at night and keep check of your belongs.

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One of the best places to have top view in Mong Kok
In just a few streets away, there is a Park-In Commercial Centre. Go up the car park lift to top floor, walk out the double doors then go straight, you should soon see the open roof with a panoramic view that oversees the streets of Mong Kok packed with street performers and passer-bys.

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Suggested Map of Mong Kok

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Suggested spots

  1. Ladies Market
  2. Shanghai Street
  3. Park-In Commercial Car Park
  4. Footbridge at Mong Kok Road
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 Small Photography Tips in Mong Kok

  1. Having a smile on your face. Nothing beats a genuine smile, be it you are a foreigner or a local. For someone who grew up in the city, western photographers tend to have an advantage over the locals, they get to win their hearts easier when it comes to photo taking, they find tourists less intrusive.
  2. Off finder (zone focus) increases you successful rate of getting a decent candid shot on the street.
  3. Pick a spot, frame and wait.
  4. Watch your shutter speed, better keeping it in your safety shutter to avoid vibrations.
  5. CineStill 800T is best for a place like Mong Kok, it gives you that cinematic look.
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TAHUSA recommended path
Come out of Exit D of the Mong Kok Station and go straight. Once you hit the Ladies Market, turn right. Walk till the end of the Ladies Market, remembering to explore in between the stalls and side allies. Cross the street and up the car park lift of the Park-in Commercial Centre for the top view shots. When you are back on the ground level, cross to the opposite side and try out some tasteful local food. Take the same path down the Ladies Market until you are at the end of the street. Turn left, pass the intersection and continue walking towards the Langham Place. When you hit Langham place, turn left and enter Shanghai Street. When you have seen enough for the day, enjoy a cold local brew beer at Tap Ale Project.

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Travelling like a local
If you are interested to understand more about other areas in Hong Kong, feel free to email me at tahusa.co@gmail.com

Places to develop film in Hong Kong

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If you are looking for reliable and high quality labs to begin your film journey or you would like to find a lab close to your place. Here is a list of recommended film labs in Hong Kong by me. All of them offer services to develop Color Negative film, Black and white Negative film and Colour Positive film. If you would like to understand more about their quality, feel free to comment below.

1. Colorluxe Express
316B, G/F.,Jaffe Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Opening Hour : Mon to Fri 10AM – 8PM, Sat 10AM – 7PM, Sun Closed
Transport: Causeway Bay Station (5mins walk)

Turnover time
Colour Negative: Within the day
Black and white film: 2 working days
Color Slide film: 2 working days

Scanner: Noritsu HS-1800
Website: https://www.facebook.com/ColorluxeExpress/

 



 

2. Showa (Mongkok)
3/F, 66 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Opening Hour : Everyday 2PM – 9PM
Transport: Mongkok Station (1min walk)

3. Showa (Causeway Bay)
Shop 1H Po Foo Building, 1-5 Foo Ming Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
​Opening Hour : Everyday 1PM – 9PM (Tuesday OFF)
Transport: Causeway Bay Station (3mins walk)

Scanner: Noritsu HS-1800
Website: https://www.showa-store.com

4. Outputpro Lab
612 1/F Reclamation Street; Mong Kok; Kowloon; Hong Kong
Opening Hour : Mon to Sat 12:30PM – 8PM, Sun Closed
Transport: Prince Edward Station (5mins walk)

Turnover time
Colour Negative: Within the day
Black and white film: 1 working days
Color Slide film: 2 working days

Scanner: Noritsu HS-1800
Website: http://www.outputprolab.com