Traveling with my Leica M-P

I went to Hong Kong for a short trip earlier this month. It’s more of a relax trip than a photography trip. But of course, whenever I get to travel, I try not to waste the opportunity to snap some pictures as well. And I have decided to add some “stress” to my relaxation… that is to travel with my Leica M-P for the 8 days trip.

Traveling and shooting with a manual focusing camera may seems like a “mission impossible” to many. Yes, of course you are losing the convenience of auto focus, but that doesn’t mean to be the end of the world, or so I thought. So, I was embarked on a journey to find out the answer of whether I can actually survive traveling with a manual focusing camera. At the same time, I would like to see if I can crunch out pictures that are different from what I shot last year in Hong Kong.

I brought along with me Summicron 35mm ASPH, Zeiss Planar 2/50mm and Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8. Basically these are my entire lens collection. Along the trip I managed to pick up a Super-Elmar-M 21mm ASPH to complete my lens collection. I traveled through streets, fishing village, hills and mountains and so on. I shot everything that interest me, ranging from streets, people, landscape and etc. with my M-P. I shot from wide open to f16. I shot with all the lenses in my bag. I tried to utilize every skills and knowledge I know about photography to plan and get the shot I want. In the end, I can safely conclude that: Yes, I can live with manual focus, even for oversea trip like this.

Of course there are some shots that are harder to take when you are shooting with manual focusing, unless your lens is set to hyper focal distance where you can literally just point and shoot. It just requires a little more effort from your end to pre-plan and visualize the shot, and wait for the moment to come. I do missed a couple of shots, either due to myself being too slow to react or I have dialled in the wrong setting/adjustment. Well, there’s no one else to blame other than… of course, myself.

I’m carrying all the stuffs in my trustworthy Billingham Hadley Pro bag. Considering the weight of my setup:

  • M-P – 680g
  • Summicron 35mm ASPH – 255g
  • Zeiss Planar 2/50mm – 230g
  • Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8 – 225g
  • Super-Elmar-M 21mm ASPH – 260g

The weight of my full setup tops around 1.65kg excluding other accessories such as extra batteries, filters, shutter release and etc., and the fact that I can squeeze everything easily into my bag (there’s still room for water bottle!) has reassured my decision for investing in this system. If I were to bring my Fujifilm’s gear, I’ll probably ended up with the following items:

  • X-T1 – 440g
  • XF10-24 F4 – 410g
  • XF18 F2 – 116g
  • XF23 F1.4 – 300g
  • XF56 F1.2 – 405g

The weight of full setup will be around 1.67kg, similar to what I brought, but the size of the setup can barely squeezed into my bag. Well, end of the day is all about leveraging on compromization. If you want auto focus, versatility of zooms, you’ll lose in size or weight in return. As simple as that. Well, at least now I know that I have built up two very usable systems in my dry cabinet, which can cater to my shooting needs and change accordingly.

My next trip will be re-visiting to Japan, but this time I’ll be heading to Tokyo instead. So which camera system should I bring along? Hmm… we’ll see 🙂

Hong Kong & Macau – A journey of Modern & Heritage

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Was in Hong Kong & Macau for 9 days in the month of November. The main purpose of the trip is partly holiday and partly to accompany my grandmother to visit my sister who’s working in Hong Kong. It’s nice to spend time with family, and it’s nice that I finally get to travel oversea after almost 2 years of work life.
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We were greeted with nice and comfy weather during our stay. Rainy season was over and entering to the fall season. Perfect for walking around and exploring without getting tired of the heat and sweat. And we were blessed for able to stay in my sister’s cozy home for free. That’s why we can splurge a little more on the air ticket and travel with Cathay Pacific Airline instead of budget airline.
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Hong Kong, although a small city, hosts a blend of modern cityscape and tradition heritage. You get to see a lot of high rise buildings, at the same time a lot of old buildings, temples, monuments and so on. Macau on the other hand has more heritage, modern architecture are mainly the hotels and casinos. I’m not a fan of casino anyway, so I spent a day in Macau venturing some of its heritage hot spots, while the remaining days in Hong Kong experiencing the blend of past and future.
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There’re a lot of historical and cultural spots waiting for you to explore. Basically I spent my days in places like Lantau, Tai O, Central, Mongkok and etc. while heading to Macau for a day trip. Other than the usual tourist attractions, I have walked through some old villages, streets and the cities. For some, Hong Kong is just another city. But if you are willing to take your tome to dive into it, you will be able to explore the beauty of the hidden gems within.
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Will I be heading back to Hong Kong again? Most likely. I would like to uncover more hidden gems that I have missed or yet to venture in this trip. Hopefully I’ll be able to head back to this city soon and to continue my exploration journey.
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#Umbrella Movement

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Was in Hong Kong for my last trip, and was able to get a glimpse of the Umbrella Movement, the protest that’s going on in Hong Kong not long ago. How it started, evolved and ended, well, you can always refer to the news for more reliable information. I’ll just share some opinion and feeling that I have after witnessing the protest site itself.
I’ve been to the Mongkok and Central area protest site to snap some pictures, and to sort of understanding the whole movement from a third party point of view. Mongkok is quite happening with a lot of actions and conflicts going on and off. I heard that Admiralty is the most active site, but I only managed to pass by without much involvement.
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Throughout my stay in Hong Kong, this issue seems to be the topic that people talk about. And after chatting with some locals, I get to see some insight of the whole story. What you see from the newspaper is just the surface story, there are many issues brewing all along that contribute to this outbreak. And sadly, the similar problem will hit all the developing countries like Singapore and Malaysia sooner or later. In fact you can already see some sign of people protesting now and then in Singapore and Malaysia, which is kinda worrying.
So what went wrong? Many things… The price hike of property, increase of living expenses, inflation and etc., but at the same time, the younger generation has more demand, want to take more while give in less, expecting changes and improvements to happen overnight and so on. So who’s fault were to blame? I don’t really get an answer for this. If I’m to comment, everyone needs to take in part of the responsibility for things to turn out this way.
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Throughout the few days that I’m shooting on scene, I’m glad that nothing much had happened to me, other than there’s a quarrel going on for a moment when those who are photographing at the scene were asked to back off a little. The protestor ask for equality, claimed that they have the right to camp on the street, a public area, but yet seems to me that they are not treating others equally as well. Sad and ironic.
Should this movement really happened? Well, there are people who support it, and there are people who against it. There’s always pros and cons in everything. The next question is no longer whether this should have happened and who should take responsible, but rather, how to make things better so that in future things like this will not happened again. May peace be restored to Hong Kong, and hopefully the same thing will not happened to any other places as well.
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