A Nostalgic Hong Kong Night Scene with Rolleiflex and a Tripod

Tai Hang Sai Estate: A Nostalgic Photowalk with Rolleiflex and a Tripod


A Nostalgic Hong Kong Night Scene with Rolleiflex and a Tripod

Rolleiflex 2.8F, CineStill 800T 120 (expired)
Rolleiflex 2.8F, CineStill 800T 120 (expired)

Carrying a tripod around the soon-to-be-demolished Tai Hang Sai Estate brings back memories. I last used my tripod just 300 meters from home to test the Pentax 67II camera, and before that, in 2021, to capture the now-inaccessible Instagram Pier. It’s bittersweet to witness the drastic changes in Hong Kong after the pandemic. Whenever I photograph streets or places, I remind myself to return with a tripod for a better shot. But now, the spot overlooking Temple Street, with its iconic overhanging carpark, is gone.

Following a photowalk organized by Anakin, I was determined to return and capture the essence of this disappearing estate. Built in 1965 near Shek Kip Mei in Hong Kong, Tai Hang Sai Estate comprises eight buildings and many unique shops. It embodies “人情味,” a term that represents the warmth and genuine human connection found in social interactions, a concept not easily captured in English with a single word.

Rolleiflex 2.8F, CineStill 800T 120 (expired)

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With my Rolleiflex 2.8F, expired film, and a tripod in tow, I’ve shot a roll of Reflx Lab 250D in 120 format, currently developing at the lab. I chose the Rolleiflex for its neat, square format, turning every scene into a living frame. Film photography slows down the process, and using a tripod makes me more deliberate, allowing me to appreciate and examine each scene from different angles. I believe using expired CineStill 800T colour negative film adds special meaning. I shot most of the frames at f/8 for sharpness, setting the ISO to 640 instead of 800 for extra leeway, considering the film’s aged nature. The exposures were mostly ½ or 1 second — not too bright, not too dark. I’ve only adjusted the S curve slightly to restore shadow detail, and I’ve shared a tutorial on this if you’re unsure how to proceed.

Rolleiflex 2.8F, CineStill 800T 120 (expired)
Rolleiflex 2.8F, CineStill 800T 120 (expired)

It’s been a long while since I last used my Rolleiflex 2.8F. Last Saturday, after shooting in Tai Hang Sai for my upcoming YouTube videos, I stopped at @badcoffeeliquorclub. I always miss my tripod in that dimly lit place; often, I need people to stay still for a full second to capture the shot. Despite the challenging space for shooting with an 80mm lens on medium format, the ambiance is perfect. I settled on an f/8 aperture with a 1-second exposure at ISO 640 to achieve the desired sharpness and depth of field using my expired CineStill 800T 120 film from 2021.

I’ll be sharing my 250D shots soon after the Chinese New Year, and hopefully, they’ll be accompanied by a YouTube video too!

For higher resolution, you may refer to my Flickr.

Rolleiflex 2.8F, CineStill 800T 120 (expired)
Reflx Lab 800
Reflx Lab 400D
Reflx Lab 200T
Metal replacement hood for 28/35 Leica Lens

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