July 2012 Hong Kong (and Macau) workshop report

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Central. Olympus OM-D, 45/1.8

Yes, we got rained on. Post-typhoon Hong Kong was an interesting (and very wet) environment to shoot in; even more interesting to teach in, but our little band of drowned rats – probably the only ones in Hong Kong without umbrellas – did admirably.

Day one started with a portfolio review and briefing session, running over commonly made mistakes as well as identifying key themes for each participant to work on; with that, we made our way over to Central with the intention of easing into street with a little architecture that might or might not include people. Seems like the rain kept a lot of commuters away at lunchtime, and we eventually headed away from the business district to the shopping district, where things got a bit more lively (and I narrowly missed losing an eye to umbrella points).

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The diving board. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 28/2.8

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Common street view during the rain. Olympus OM-D, 45/1.8

Crossing under the bay after lunch and a detour to an interesting photographic bookshop at IFC, we were presented with a much more interesting and dynamic shooting environment – the chaos of Mong Kok. Coupled with rain, low light and the general chaos of the place, it proved to be a very challenging place to shoot.

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Signs. Olympus OM-D, 45/1.8

We repaired to a randomly insalubrious rooftop – the ‘penthouse suite’ which came with an attached garden – for a different view, and a break from the pedestrian jam.

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Group portrait. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 28/2.8

We continued to shoot for a few more hours before repairing to dinner, and after that a cigar at a private club and extended discourse on photography and life in general.

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Untitled. Olympus OM-D, 45/1.8

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Showing off. Olympus OM-D, 45/1.8

Day two took us to Macau – across a rather rough crossing that had the ferries throttled down to about 2/3rds speed; in any case, we spent most of the journey discussing the importance of workflow and backups. Today’s assignment was to capture an image or two which instantly said ‘Macau’ – but not in a cliched fashion; travel photography with a twist. The ‘food street’ of Macau proved to be somewhat anticlimactic; but it did yield an excellent Portuguese restaurant, whose flaming sausages proved to be interesting photographic material.

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Yet more rain. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 28/2.8

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Getting one last shot in before lunch. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 28/2.8

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Lunch is on fire. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 50/2

The old section of Macau, in the warren of streets near the ruins of St. Paul’s – proved to be a rich hunting ground of photographic opportunity, despite the even heavier rain. Even though I felt this was an equally or perhaps even more challenging environment than Mong Kok the day before – the group acquitted itself admirably, and produced some of their best work. Perhaps it was because this portion of the assignment was undertaken individually, without the pressure of hunting in packs; nevertheless, some stayed behind to continue shooting at catch a very late ferry home.

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Yellow wall. Olympus OM-D, Panasonic 20/1.7

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Not exactly ice cream weather. Olympus OM-D, Panasonic 20/1.7

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Cinematic alleyway. Olympus OM-D, Panasonic 20/1.7

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Spot the photographer. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 28/2.8

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Chimping time. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 28/2.8

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A good shot shared. Olympus OM-D, 45/1.8

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Rain, Macau. Olympus OM-D, 45/1.8

The final day of the workshop was split between evaluating images, the editing process, and an introduction to Photoshop; I say introduction because for a new user, it’s not the kind of thing that can be mastered in an afternoon – though the participants did well, especially given that it was their first time in both Photoshop and using an editing tablet.

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Inspiration break. Note laptops in background. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 28/2.8

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Contemplating escape at lunch. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 28/2.8

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Untitled portrait. Leica M9-P, Zeiss 28/2.8

All in all, a great time was had by all – to the point that the final day’s debrief didn’t end until about 3.30am!

There’s still one final place left for my Tokyo 2012 workshop which runs from 12-14 October, with a two day focus on street photography, architecture and travel, and one day on Photoshop. Full details are available here. More images from the Hong Kong workshop will go up in the near future as a series of photoessays.

I run workshops in small groups (no more than five) to ensure that I can tailor teaching content to individual participants. I’d be happy to do a location workshop or come to you; if you can get a bunch of friends together it’s a fun and informative way to spend a few days. Please send me an email if you’re interested. MT


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

One day left to enter the competition…

A huge thank you to all of the entries so far – I honestly didn’t expect to get this many (85). Let’s try for a hundred! There’s still a day left, so please get your entries in by midnight GMT tonight. MT

Details on how to enter here.

Final call for entries – the inaugural Mingthein.com photo contest closes tomorrow at midnight!

If you haven’t done so already (and thank you to everybody who has) – today is your last chance to get your entry in for the inaugural Mingthein.com photography contest!

The theme is ‘The Human Element’; $5 gets you a chance to win the pot. Remember, the more people who enter, the bigger the prize pot!

Full details here. Thanks for playing! MT

Just two more weeks for entries…

…for the inaugural Mingthein.com photography contest! Remember, the more entries we get, the bigger the prize pot – and it’s 100% meritocratic, open to anybody, anywhere, and you retain all rights to your images.

Full details and how to enter, here. MT

A gentle reminder: three weeks to go until the first Mingthein.com photography contest closes!

If you haven’t started shooting, now’s the time to do so. Remember, the more people who enter, the larger the pot…

Full details here.

Calling for entries: The inaugural Mingthein.com photography contest!

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I’m happy to announce a new and (hopefully long-term) feature for the site; something that’ll foster more active participation, buy me time to add more content, and of course, give back more to the readers: I’m going to run a photography contest.

The basic principles:
– It will be 100% merit based. I will be judging.
– There will be a cash award for the winner and runner up!
– The prizes will be supported by a small entry fee of US$5 – the more people who enter, the bigger the award pot becomes. So share it with your friends!
– You will learn something: the final 10 images will be given a detailed critique on the site.
– Unlike just about every other competition out there, I won’t keep the rights to your images; all you need to agree to is allow me to publish the image here if you win, or if you make the final 10.
– There are no restrictions on equipment or date the picture was shot.
– You do of course need to have shot the photo, and own the rights to the image.
– Images must be in the theme of the competition.

This is designed to be a competition by photographers, for photographers.

First theme: The Human Element

Judging criteria: The winning photo must be compositionally strong, have an obvious subject, be technically well executed in a manner that supports the subject, and above all, it must generate an emotional response in the viewer. There’s got to be a person in there somewhere. Color or black and white are both equally acceptable, as are posed and candid images. It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or professional, I’m only looking at the quality of your image.

Closing date: Midnight GMT, 31 July, 2012.

How to enter:
– Each participant is allowed to enter one image.
– Images must be in jpeg format, 1500 pixels wide on the long side.
– Watermarks are fine but must not obscure the subject (obviously)!
– Send an email with “July 2012” [space] plus your name in the subject line to mingthein2(at)gmail.com. The body of the email should contain your paypal address (payment is required for participation), name, your image and its title.
– Send your entry fee of US$5 via Paypal gift to mingthein2@gmail.com
– I will confirm receipt of both to the email address the image came from.
– Judging will take place in the first week of August, with results to come thereafter.
– Multiple entries are not allowed.

The fine print:
– First place takes 50% of the total entry fees received.
– The runner up takes 20% of the total entry fees received.
– The balance of 30% will go towards running and supporting this site.
– You must own the rights to the image submitted.
– Rights for all images submitted remain property of the photographer, but in order to be eligible to win, the photographer must grant mingthein.com the rights to publish the image either as part of the final 10 critique, or as the winner.
– The judges’ decision is final.
– Photoshop allowed, but digital editing is limited to adjustments to color/ contrast/ dodge & burn/ sharpening/ minor retouching including spot removal etc. Changes of substantial portions of the image in order to alter the overall impression of the photograph are not allowed, and if detected are subject to disqualification.
– Your email address and other personal data will remain confidential and not be shared with any third party.

– Entries are welcome from any country, it’s an international competition!

Remember: the prize grows directly proportional to number of entries, so share this with your other photography friends and on Facebook!

Good luck, and may the best image win! Looking forward to seeing all of your entries. MT