I started to take photography as my serious hobby over 10 years ago, when I was even in middle school. Since I got to learn more about different gear, and developed my interest in street photography, the Leica M-system inevitably occupied one place in my mind. I had experience with DSLRs, some Minolta film SLRs, later the compact cameras such as T2, T3 and Hexar AF. For a few years I stopped taking cameras and film out but just using my phone.
Early this year, the pandemic restriction in Hong Kong was finally lifted up, and I shot several rolls with my Hexar AF. I didn’t quite have confidence to the AF accuracy on my copy of Hexar, so although the manual focus experience is clumsy on it, I set it to 3m and stopped down to f/8 for most of the time. Those rolls, a little bit surprisingly, turned out to be quite good, I didn’t miss focus on those frames I expected to be well-done. After that, a weird feeling shot through my mind and I decided to try a real manual rangefinder for street photography. I bought a Minolta CLE and the Voigtlander 21/4, M-Rokkor-QF 40/2 and found a quite clear, haze-free M-Rokkor 28/2.8 with a jaw-dropping bargain price. Then as I realised my soul for photography has been burning so bright, I might not be able to afford the sky-high costs for purchasing the film rolls and the develop/scanning for a year. Thanks to the comprehension and support from my parents, we soon made up our mind to invest in a digital M, and shortly after I chose the M10-P, which has all I need for a street camera and was affordable. After several days of searching in local camera shops, I walked in the official HK Leica store in Causeway Bay, and to my great surprise, a pre-owned black chrome M10-P was sitting quietly in the shop window. That was the deal.
I got my hands on the M10-P with the Rokkor 40/2 and 28/2.8, and immediately fell in love with the handling and image quality, especially the high-ISO performance. However, these two lenses, as you know, suffer from invoking incorrect framelines on Leica M-bodies. I couldn’t resist the temptation of trying the ‘real’ 35mm frameline, so after some researching, I ordered a Voigtlander 35mm F2 Ultron II from Japan, which saved me roughly 1000 HKD compared to buying directly in HK stores.
Okay, the storyline has caught up with the present now. I have been practising guessing the distance and shooting from hip with my Rokkor 40 before I change to the CV35, so the transition has been quite smooth. I am very satisfied with the procedure of taking a photo now, where I decide the aperture, shutter speed and ISO manually, preset the focus distance for my imagined compositions, reach the guesstimate distance spot and then press the shutter, even without looking through the viewfinder.
The 5 frames selected here are a mix of using the viewfinder to wait the moment way and the ‘capture-with-instinct’ shooting from the hip way. I think the latest and most important thing I learned from carrying my M10-P all day long is to just enjoy the actions of taking photos, the more you take, the more possible a great moment will happen within your sight, and the more ready you’ll be to capture those moments.
I was discovering a place I haven’t been to before in Hong Kong. I walked out the MTR station and wandered toward the nearby shopping mall. Soon I found the mall gate was decorated with mirrors in blue and organized into the way of a diamond being chopped from various angles. I worked the scene here for around twenty minutes to find the interesting reflections, and the best one I got is this.
On the same place of the first shot. Actually this angle and composition was my first attempt when I spotted this decoration outside of a mall. I was waiting for somebody dressed in blue but then I realized it wouldn’t pop out from the background. Soon after I changed my mind, this yellow shirt guy came to the spot.
This little door with a little window has been my favorite spot at the famous Hong Kong Cultural Centre, a place with a great design full of the beauty of geometry. This is my rediscovery of this well-known photography site in HK… with some luck. I was hanging around this door, trying to play with the framing composition with the window. And suddenly I saw someone was coming out and luckily I had already held my camera up to my chest, so I hit the shutter immediately. And when I got back home and reviewed the pictures, I was surprised to see that the man framed up with his figure and an arm, and the iconic architecture of the Cultural Centre remained in the picture and was emphasized by the framing.
Yet another moment of surprise in my daily walk around neighborhood. I have been living here for 5 years and only until last week, I realized these pinky pentagons at daytime turned out to be the rainbow light installation at night! I made several attempts but still couldn’t satisfy myself. And I came up with the idea that rotate my camera a bit to add some dynamic feelings. This frame with the lady was the most dynamic one with her pose. Another lucky moment for me.
This futuristic barbershop has caught my eye for a while. This time when I was on my way to lunch in the mall, I found there was no one outside so I could take pictures without the stress of facing them. I didn’t compose very carefully, I just pressed the shutter with instinct. But when I reviewed it at the end of the day, I realized this photo contains a lot of similarities and differences: it’s like a mirrored image from the middle but actually there were quite a lot of subtle differences. I enjoyed viewing this picture and I hoped its charm could be conveyed to you as well.
Thanks for reading!
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