5 golden rules to shooting fireworks

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1. Find the best location to capture fireworks.
Firework displays always attract big crowds, so make sure you get there early to set up camp. I try to find places where you can get a variety of shots, where the photos look good when it’s close up or wide. Perhaps it could be an object or crowd in the foreground that can add to the composition, or use a tele lens and compress the depth so you fit more in the frame.

2. Set up your tripod
Once you’re set on a spot, set up your tripod and either hang your bag on the hook under the tripod, or place some heavy bags around the legs of the tripod to avoid it being bumped around, making your photos blurry which can be really frustrating.

3. Set a timer or use a remote trigger
Night photography always looks better when it’s set at low ISO to eradicate noise. When the ISO is low, you usually end up using a long shutter speed so as to let enough light enter the camera. It is very important to make sure that there are no movements, when the lens is capturing the shot. Not only is tripod a must, you should be using a timer or remote trigger as well. Without a timer or remote trigger, the camera might shake a little when you press the shutter button manually. I also use manual focus as some cameras have a hard time focusing at night. With manual control, you have a better grasp on your shot or the end result....

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Neon lights of Hong Kong

As featured on Manfrotto Imagine More blog.

When one thinks of Hong Kong’s visual culture, neon lights are one of the first things that come to mind. Hong Kong used to be filled with these radiant hues, but the city’s trademark identity has been slowly disappearing since it was deemed “unsafe” by the government. As these iconic signs gradually fade, I became more and more obsessed in documenting and shooting them.

Capturing nightscape provides a unique thrill compared to shooting during the day, as you get to play around with the colors during the editing stage. I always like to tinker with the hue, saturation, and luminosity to bring out certain colors and to create the perfect mood. In this photo, I deliberately brought out the red to portray the essence of Chinese culture and its importance to my great city.

In some cases where the neon sign is interesting, but the surrounding environment is lacking panache, I would try and find angles or reflections, that can create a more interesting imagery. In this photo, I also used Manfrotto’s Lumimuse 8 mini LED light with the Multicolor filter kit to add a different shade of color on the ground, giving it a nice gradient reflection going from the red tones to the teal.

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Shooting portraits in front of these neon lights is always a fun experiment. I love how the colors reflect on people’s skin and hair, and how these lights create mood depending on the color. When shooting portraits at night, I always bring the Lumimuse as well, for it’s versatility in filter and color options...

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4 tips of shooting in the city

As featured on Manfrotto Imagine More blog.

I was born and raised in a city, and it was only recently that I realized, I love shooting cities more than anything else. In a metropolis like Hong Kong, there is always something going on. Whether it’s crowds of people rushing through the streets, or cars leaving you in the dust; whether it’s facades of buildings and high-rises, or quiet alleyways in between. There is just so much to capture in terms of photography.

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Here are some tips to make good use of your time in a city:

1. MAKE GOOD USE OF LIGHT
Light is important in photography no matter what you shoot. In cities, it is particularly interesting since there’s both natural and artificial light that you can play with. During the day, with bright sunlight, capturing architecture with barely any people and/or shadows always make for an interesting photo. At night, the neon colours add a more cinematic vibe to photos.  I often shoot long exposure car trails, as you can really capture the essence of the city with cars blazing through the highways. You can also try shooting car trails during twilight, where you can capture both natural and artificial light in the same frame. Remember to shoot with a tripod when shooting at night! My personal favourite is the BeFree carbon fibre Travel Tripod, since it’s lightweight and easy to carry around.

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2. SENSE OF SCALE
Grand cityscapes often look impressive; but to make the photo more interesting, you can compose it featuring elements like a person’s silhouette, a taxi, or trees to add a sense of scale. When taking photos with one-point perspective, try lowering your angle and shoot from the ground, tilting your camera upwards to further emphasize the grandeur of the buildings along the streets.

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3. PERSPECTIVES
What makes cities so interesting to shoot is that the same place can look completely different from a different angle and perspective. You can shoot the same building focusing on the facade, or include a human element. I suggest looking at the surroundings and finding something that is interesting that you can include in the foreground. The shots below are taken at Yik Fat Building, a very popular spot amongst photographers. Some of these feature natural elements – a nice juxtaposition with the urban jungle vibe.

4. LIFE
The people are the gears, and the city is the machine. It’s the people – the moving parts – that make the city come to life. Whenever I visit a new location, I not only focus on the architecture and buildings, but also the people who live or work there. Shooting people in an urban context is more challenging than shooting motionless structures, since you’re capturing a moment that will never happen again. I love telling stories through these shots. It adds a touch of emotion to the image, and leaves a stronger longer lasting impression.

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