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Hong Kong - The Photographer's Paradise

May 18, 2008
Without a shadow of a doubt, Hong Kong is a photographer's paradise. Not only is there so much subject matter, but it's also a very safe environment for those who are going to be carrying expensive equipment with them. The Hong Kong culture also means you can take photographs all day long and well into the night because life keeps going well after the sun goes down. Just a quick search for Hong Kong on popular photo sites such as Flickr can give you an idea of it's got to offer a photographer.

Aside from its natural beauty, Hong Kong has a lot of financial clout, being one of the most important financial hubs in the world. This allows the state to create and maintain a lot of attractions that are freely accessible. For example, A Symphony of Lights is a nightly light show that stars over 40 of the buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour. The electricity bill alone is several thousand dollars for each 14-minute performance and yet it's completely free to view. Guinness World Records says it's the world's "Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" and every night it's watched by an audience of thousands spread across square miles.

Each of Hong Kong's parks also makes for a unique photo experience whether candids, floral, landscape, wildlife, or architecture is your passion. You also don't have to worry about litter or debris ruining your compositions as all are well-maintained throughout the day.

As a photographer, you might be interested in taking a walking tour of central Hong Kong to view the rich blend of old and new, urban and rural all within a few square miles. If walking's not to your liking then there are plenty of trams that can offer cheap transportation with a view.

Organised attractions aside, Hong Kong also offers many opportunities to capture a very rich and diverse culture. From the fishing villages along the coastlines to the busy street markets of Mong Kok, the older folk performing tai chi in the mornings to the hundreds of temples, from the bird's eye view from public viewing galleries of the tallest buildings to the 360-degree view from Victoria Peak.

As a photographer anywhere in the world, you'll appreciate just how much of an impact the weather can have on outdoor shooting. Given its sub-tropical climate, the best time of year to get good visibility is in November and December when it's warm, but dry. April through to September are more humid and susceptible to tropical cyclones. High humidity can help to give a misty feel to shots and provide its own interest as subjects literally vanish into cloud, but do be careful to keep it out of your equipment.

As someone who has visited Hong Kong on several occasions, I have nothing but high praise for the city. Just try to visit in the drier seasons unless you're suitably equipped (waterproof), have no say in the matter or want to get some tropical shots!
About the Author
William Lee is a digital photographer. Read more of his thoughts and see some of his work on his Digital Photography Blog. See some photographs of Merseyside taken by other photographers.
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