Tommy Ku Photography

Photowalk in Shek Lung Kung: Part 1

Left, right, left, right. Moving my feet repeatedly like that, and I can get anywhere I want to be. Even If I don't have a destination, then I will still end up at somewhere different. Repeat. Keep going.

The time was 4:27am. The first light has yet to show in this season but the way up from Tsuen Wan to Shek Lung Kung was quite well lit—if not by the street lamps, it's the city's lights reflected from the sky.

Plan was to hike up to Shek Lung Kung and shoot the sunrise or the sea of clouds with Moskva-5 and Fuji Velvia 100F. Then meet with a friend = model near mid-day to shoot at a nearby abandoned school.

The way up wasn't particularly dark. Headlight was used to scare off wild animals instead.
I did meet stray dog on the trail which calmly disappeared into the woods as our eyes met.

One of my themes in 2022 is "Do it if you want, no matter what". For years I have been living in the comfort zone, occasionally poking my head out to try a thing or two, then get comfortable with where I end up at with that initial rush.

And if I could continue the rush and keep going, good things are bound to happen. The entire hike to the top only took around 40 min. I walked non-stop, soaked in sweat and decided not to stop for water or rest until I was sure I've reached the top.

At the top, there's a pole constructed above some rocks.
There's red aviation obstruction light flashing behind at regular interval, illuminating the scene.

The peak of Shek Lung Kung was warm but windy. Once I have sat down next to the pole I began sipping coffee still hot from the insulated water bottle. If I had a camping stove I would have been making a breakfast, as the morning light wouldn't show for another hour.

Overlooking the city in the dark, the red light regularly flashed from behind. My thought slowly dissolved into the wind and the city lights.

My photography.

My life.

My relationship.

Eventually, an idea that had been brewing inside me emerged.

If you don't decide for yourself and stand firm, somebody will decide for you — to your detriment.
Choose your own adventure, and stop at nothing until you reach the end.

In the middle of the civil twilight, sea of clouds can be seen from afar. The basin area from Tai Wai to Ma On Shan acted like a bowl holding a soup of cloud.

Originally I came for the sea of clouds, so I was disappointed seeing the cloud formation at the basin to the north of Kowloon, instead of right where I was. Fortunately, I was given a crystal clear view to Tsuen Wan and the distant hills.

As I was removed from my thought by the twilight, I readied my Moskva-5 setup.

As the sky brightened and the sun has yet to rise above the distant hills, I even had the time to take a handsome shot of my Moskva-5.

A group of people gathered at the viewing platform at a slightly lower point. One lady actually climbed up to where I was. It'd take some effort to get here because of the loose rocks, so I was quite surprised someone did come up here.

On her request, I helped to take some photos of her. During which the sun showed. Quickly, I returned her phone and rushed up to my Moskva-5.

Velvia 100F renders the blue as purple and the red/orange are made hyper-saturated. Perhaps this is because of how the lab adjust the color of scan.
Color rendition of the same scene using Kodak Ektar 100 on Voigtlander Bessa R3A and Nokton 40mm f/1.2.
Definitely more true to real color, and no color shift even though I accidentally underexposed the whole roll one stop.
Another Ektar 100 shot with -2 exposure compensation.
Since the roll was underexposed by 1 stop this is actually 3 stops under.
I love how the sunlight reflects off the sea of clouds.
The same scene, again, on OnePlus 7T, with its own take of the white balance and color rendition.

The sun looked like a big orange light bulb hanging from sky. Sunlight was reflected off the top of the clouds—a magnificant sight.

The cloud soup was then overflowing from the basin holding the clouds in, and through the gaps of the hills spilling over into the city. In the next few hours, the cloud would disperse completely.

The lady was pleased by the view. On the previous day she hiked Tai Mo Shan to see nothing impressive. She bode farewell and I would stay there for at lease 2 more hours to wait for my friend.

After taking the sunrise photo I was happy with. I proceeded to shoot and finished my roll of Ektar 100 out of excitement.
As the sun further climbed up to the sky, the world was briefly painted in golden orange color.
The hills in the background exhibits complex layer of different color which impressed me the most.
The entirety of Tsuen Wan, Tsing Yi and the southern end of Kowloon can be seen through the light mist.
To the sourthwest are the bridges and Lantau Island in its entirety.

Soon after I have finished the roll of Ektar 100 I realized my Bessa R3A was set to ISO 200 (from a previous roll of C200). All the shots I took would have been underexposed by a stop. Plus the roll of film had been expired for over half a year with natural drop in sansitivity as a result. Being a premium film stock, the latitude of Ektar 100 allows for underexposure by up to one stop, and the damage was nothing more than increased grain. All the color seemed nice and true to life, if not improved by the enhanced contrast!

I am lucky. As with most of the things in my life.

The next roll of film I loaded was Fujicolor C200, no need to change ISO setting on the Bessa R3A.

The flashing red light silently shut itself down some time after sunrise.

For the next two hours I would stay there to have breakfast, shoot Fomapan 400 on Moskva-5 to capture the misty look of the city, and (unknowingly) point a pair of mother and daughter to the hard way down.

As for the shoot that I had with my friend, I will leave it for the Part 2 of my Photowalk in Shek Lung Kung.