Tommy Ku Photography

Photowalk in Shek Lung Kung: Part 2

This is part 2 to the 2-part series documenting my photowalk in石龍拱. Part 1 can be found here.

For the entire week I had been shooting when I had the chance. I even thought of abandoning some commitments to make time for the shoot.

That behavior was almost compulsive that I realized I needed to back off. Going to shoot out of passion is fine. Fearing that I may miss something by not going to shoot feels a lot like a toxic relationship though.

Photography is always there for me, no matter what.

Light leak on the first shot of the roll. A good reminder of what happened in part 1.

In part 1 I hiked up to 石龍拱 at 4:27am in the morning to see the sunrise. After finishing my roll of Velvia 100F and Ektar 100, I loaded a roll of Fujicolor C200, my only roll of 135 film left for the day and continued to take a few shots.

My friend would be joining me in a couple of hours as the model for our shoot at a nearby abandoned school. After an hour or so of wait, I went down from the peak to explore the area.

Utility pole erected along the way to the peak to provide electricity to the aviation obstruction light on top.
The way down which is the same way I went up. Even in broad daylight the rocky and sandy path was difficult to traverse.

When I climbed this way up to the top in darkness a few hours ago, I probably was buffed by strong passion and a lack understanding of the difficulty. The way down, however, felt at least 5x more difficult. Should have brought my gloves.

Two aunties stood from a distance observing my journey down from the top and seeked comment on the difficulty because "You (me) struggled for quite some time."

I did point some people to go down that route in part 1 and they got down just fine. Anyway, these two aunties were dissuaded by how difficult it seemed as I went down, and decided not to go.

石龍拱 is a part of 元荃古道. This is an old shot taken in 2020.

The trail that passes through石龍拱 is called 元荃古道, which served to connect Yuen Long and Tsuen Wan in the old time. The trail is now a part of Tai Lam Country Park and is paved to clearly indicate the path. Actually, 石龍拱is only at the beginning part of the entire trail, and the most scenic part, I might add.

Branching off from the trail to a hilly area with several good spots for picnicking and camping. The grass field seemed to be struggling to survive.
Further into the area reveals a spectacular view to the bridges and the sea. A good picnic day may be spent here if not for the hot weather and noisy group of campers nearby.

Eventually I settled down on a piece of rock overlooking the valley where the trail leads into. With the umbrella as a temporary tent, I waited for my friend to hike up. A short nap with the sound of bird chirpings was not bad.

Soon I was joined by my friend Macx who likes photography and modellings for photos.

Macx was fast in getting into the situation. After a short break to catch his breath from the hike, he was ready to pose for a shot.

Macx spent 40~50 minutes hiking up non-stop, taking all of the longer routes for every fork of the trail. Obviously, it's a tiring hike, and I worried if that’ll ruin the mood. Yes we came here for the shoot, but it can't be only about the shoot.

We were not in a hurry to shoot. It's best to chat a bit and hike around to explore. After exploring the area, we proceed to head to the abandoned school.

For years the school had been abandoned and the ceiling had long collapsed into pieces on the ground. The concrete structure stands, apparently strong enough to survive the years to come.

Macx is a very spontaneous model and is quick in coming up with idea and comprehensive directions. We had a blast exploring the lighting condition and the scene at the abandoned school to determine what to experiment with.

We discussed Personas as well. For him to be himself "Typical Macx" and "Local Foreigner" established in the previous exhibition shoot.

Out came the ridiculous shots, nice shots, and good shots.

Ridiculous shot: Devil Incarnate
Wasn't expecting the sun to leave a half-moon spot on his forehead.
Now he's like 邪神. Leaf above head adds to ridiculousness.
Ridiculous shot: Strange uncle
Ideated a figure with color that stands out in the woods who's like an observer unnoticed by the others.
Probably have gone too far to ending up with a stalker vibe.
Ridiculous shot: Dynamic exit
This one is 50% miscommunication and 50% practical reason.
We were trying to have Macx jump off the slide which is at least 2 meters tall. For practical reason, we got this instead.

Once we got Macx to act out one of the Persona. We were able to get some nice/good shots.

Nice shot: Urban Explorer
The small room next to the school was infested with vegetation that adds texture to the boring concrete structure.
This enhanced the effect of sunlight shining through the trees above.
Nice shot: Local Foreigner
The identity crisis as a "foreigner" growing up in HK is conveyed by the sweater and the thoughtful expression.
Someone should do some copy writing about this.
Good shot: Typical Macx
Max as I know him is passionate in fashion. A shot that shows off his appeals with colors standing out him the environment is why I think this shot works.
Idea is to tag the clothes with affiliated links to purchase page.
Good Shot: Pretentious Typical Macx
Something that Macx came up with.
We get good background separation with the high color contrast, so his figure stands out.
Personal Favorite: Looking back, Looking forward
During the break time, looking at the slide behind Macx I took this shot.
I can smell a lot of stories in this shot and I believe that you can too. What is the story that pops up in your mind when you see this?

After some time I almost went out of shots. Being here for over 7 hours definitely exhausted me. So we took a break.

The shoot was short and the hike exhausting for Macx. On the way back I shared my worry whether this turned out to be something less thatn what he expected, and whether he fell victim of my compulsive photography addiction. To which I forgot his exact reply on this but my take is:

"It's ok to do what you want to do as long as it doesn't damage others".
That doesn't mean you cannot do it! If it has to involve others then make it a good experience for them.

After the break we explored the area a bit and finished the roll. At that point I was running out of juice. Cookie that Macx brought might revive me but I had dedicated my empty stomach to Five Guys already.

On the way back I told Macx that we don't know if the images taken on the film will turn out. All may end up blank.

I asked myself: if the images don't turn out, I won't be able to get the "likes" on Instagram. And the subsequent thought debates: is it the likes I care the most, or this shooting experience I care the most?

Even if I go home with no tangible photos, the images of today’s experience had already been burned into my existence, like any other shoots.

I think that’s the most important thing.