by Editor Peter Walmsley
So you’re a travel photographer? Part of your preparation should be to search for iconic sights and landmarks and to know, in some detail, where those images are taken from. That’s not copying or cheating: it’s a start point from which to add your own creativity. There are fewer and fewer places on the planet that haven’t been photographed so you can either trust to luck that you’ll fine a new viewpoint at the time, or do a bit of homework to narrow the odds. Personally, I often find that some advance preparation turns up more opportunities than seeing what happens on the day.
Each city or location will have its regular spots, so how to go about locating them? It’s not actually as simple as it sounds! A very good start point is our own 1x gallery. Let’s take Hong Kong as our example. Putting ‘Hong Kong’ in the search bar brings up 29 images. But actually only 24 are related to locations as the subject and of those only 3 are unique locations:
The ‘Yick Fat’ building: a high density residential complex build around 3 sides of a courtyard with shops on the ground floor and now so famous for photographers they put ‘no Photography’ signs up.
The view from Victoria Peak: a classic shot though in my opinion the skyscrapers in the foreground obscure the sea channel between Kowloon and break the picture up.
The Hong Kong skyline from Kowloon: again a classic shot, particularly at night.
My second source of photo locations is a list of favourite travel photographers who have been there and are willing to share their knowledge. Lisa Michele Burns at the Wandering Lens has a good list of destinations which includes Hong Kong:
Lisa lists 12 of her favourite locations including Lantau Island. Other travel photographers I often check out include David DuChemin (https://davidduchemin.com) though on this occasion, I don’t think that David has covered Hong Kong; National Geographic (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/asia/china/a-local-photographers-guide-to-hong-kong-china/); and after that just have a good look around the internet for sites like this one: https://www.travelanddestinations.com/top-instagram-and-photography-spots-in-hong-kong/
No site covers it all, and all will have differing views on what constitutes the best photography spots, but with a little research, you can end up with a list of favourites and ones which look like they have potential.
For me that list for Hong Kong is as follows:
* Sky100 viewing deck gives a view of Hong Kong harbour from Kowloon side
* Victoria Peak gives a view of Hong Kong harbour from Hong Kong side
* Seafood markets: there are several but the Central wet market off Hollywood Road is probably the most accessible
* Big Wave Bay: coastal landscapes
* Yick Fat building: high density apartments as shown above. Other high density residential areas provide colourful geometric patterns such as this image from the 1x gallery:
* Lantau Island Cable Car gives views of the new Hong Kong-Zuhai-Macau
* Bridge and views back towards Shenzen
* Temple Street: Night market views
* Ned Kellys: a traditional live music venue in Kowloon
* The car park roof below Sky 100 and also the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. This provides good views of Hong Kong harbour from Kowloon side
* Star Ferry terminal and public pier. This gives good views of the Star Ferry and at night, the red-masted Aqua Luna junks
* Mongkok: flower, fish and bird markets
* And generally Hong Kong’s many shopping malls provide good opportunities for shiny surfaces and low shutter speed blurred pedestrians whilst outside the trams provide great opportunities for creative images.