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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hello Hong Kong Day 2 - Victoria Peak with Sony a99 Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f2.8

it seems the guy at the back is mistaking this bus for a roller coaster
Having been away for so long I thought I should treat the visit as if it was my first time in Hong Kong, this of course entails doing all the "touristy" things. When thinking of Hong Kong the second image that pops into my head after it's famous skyline is the view from Victoria Peak, another favorite tourist destination. Just taking a taxi to the peak however, is something no self respecting tourist would do. The only proper way is to take the Victoria Peak Tram.

Luckily the tram station is quite easy to get to. Staying near the Tsim Sha Tsui station I simply took the underground to Admiralty, when you get out you will be in a small public park.

From here it is only a short walk along Cotton Tree Drive to the tram station with plenty of beautiful buildings and sceneries along the way.

If you are planning on going I suggest you go on weekdays, you will pretty much have the whole tram to yourself. This time however, I made the mistake of going on Sunday and had to wait in line for about 20 minutes just to buy the tickets. You will have an option of either just buying tickets for the tram ride or for both the tram and to go on The Peak Tower observation deck as well.

The Peak Tower

Being the consummate tourist that I am I did not hesitate to go for the dual package.

On my way to the top of The Peak Tower. Not sure if it was purposely designed this way (I'm sure it was), but you have to take a series of escalators to reach the observation deck, with each floors lined with colorful shops enticing you to part with you Hong Kong dollars. I managed to stay strong and reached the observation deck with my wallet intact.

Even from inside The Peak Tower you can see the amazing view of Hong Kong's cityscape.

I must say, even if you are severely allergic to tourist attractions the views from the observation deck is definitely not to be missed.

The extremely wealth can actually get a place up here and have the entire city at their feet (literally), can you imagine waking up to this view everyday?

My favorite part of Victoria Peak however, was not the tower's observation deck. Not far from the tower is a lesser known hiking path that takes you around the mountain peak. It is an amazingly beautiful path with views just as amazing, and more importantly it's FREE :). The path is also sheltered from the Sun by lush vegetation so it is really much cooler than on top of the exposed observation deck. You will come across plenty of locals jogging and biking around it, the path is quite long so you might want to give yourself at least 2 hours for a leisurely walk around.

If you ever get tired of walking you can always have a rest on one of these benches along the path, and take in the amazing views while you recover for the rest of your hike. Just don't get carried away like me or before you know it hours will have passed, and like me you will turn from a hiker to a jogger to get back in time to catch the last tram down.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hello Hong Kong Day 1 - Avenue Of Stars with Sony a99 Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f2.8

Having last visited Hong Kong almost ten years ago I am back at last to the city with my favorite skyline, and in my opinion one of the most beautiful skyline in the world. Of course I am probably bias since I have always had an affinity for large metropolises for some reason. Being in a place where millions of people are living out their lives around you always gives me a strange sense of comfort, and yet it also gives me a strange feeling of loneliness deep down in my stomach.

Anyways enough of my ramblings. My first day in Hong Kong this time around wasn't very productive, my flight arrived late in the afternoon so there wasn't much of the day left. Luckily I was staying right by the waterfront on Kowloon, only about 100 meters from the Avenue Of Stars. The photo above was the view from my hotel room, the walkway along the water you can see is the Avenue Of Stars.

A decade ago when I was in Hong Kong I wasn't really into photography yet, but this time around as soon as I got to my room I just dumped everything on the floor, grabbed my Sony a99, a tripod and headed straigh out the door, I was just so eager to start taking photos of this amazing place. For the first day I just went for a walk around the area near my hotel with my main destination being the walkway along the waterfront with the view of the famous skyline of Hong Kong. seems this cruise ship is following me around.

Having arrived at the Avenue Of Stars I was rather apprehensive at first to use my tripod. I didn't want to upset anyone by accidentally blocking their view, but after walking around for a while I saw several photographers with far larger contraptions than mine setup along the banks. This gave me the courage to finally setup my own tripod and take some pictures.

The weather was really hazy (and it remained so during the entire trip :( ) so I wasn't able to get as many good shots as I wanted (more likely my lack of skill). I only had the chance to setup for a few shots when it started to rain, probably the gods trying to tell me just to give up.

Still got a few cliche shots of the famous Hong Kong skyline though. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Around Singapore with Sony a99 and Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f2.8

In this post are the rest of the photos from my trip to Singapore with the Sony a99 and the Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f2.8 lens. Most of them were taken on a day when I just went for a walk around town.

The good thing about downtown Singapore is that it is quite compact, so you can see so many things just walking around for a few hours.