Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, China

For the Chinese New Year this year, I celebrated in Hong Kong and Bangkok. In this post, I’ll share a few images from Hong Kong to give you a taste of what it’s like to celebrate in this amazing city, with its rich and deep Chinese history. In China, we get a lot of holidays! For this new years or what’s actually called the “Spring Festival”, we got eight days off. We spent the first half in Hong Kong and the second half in Bangkok.

Leica M11 and GFX100 II

For this series of images, I used the Leica M11 with the Voigtlander 50MM F1.5 Vintage lens and the GFX100 II with a variety of lenses. The Voigtlander 50MM F1.5 Vintage is so cool; it leans heavily on the “beauty from imperfection” line of thinking. The bokeh is wild and the light haze wide open makes everyone’s skin look like it’s been professionally retouched.

The GFX100 II continues to be a beast and was my main camera in Bangkok. I still find it just a touch too big and was therefore disappointed in the recent Fujifilm X-Summit where they didn’t talk about the successor to the GFX100S. The successor, if it retains the same small and tightly packed body of the original GFX100S, will be an instant buy for me. 

Taken from Carlyle Club at Rosewood Hotel; LEICA M11 50mm ISO-2000 1/180sec f/2.8
Carlyle Club KTV Room; LEICA M11 50mm ISO-1000 1/100sec f/2.8

I brought along the GF45 F2.8, GF55 F1.7, GF110 F2 and GF45-100 F4 for this trip. I rarely use the GF45-100 so I wanted to push myself to get to grips with it. However, I think this trip sealed its fate and I’ll likely put it up for sale; it’s just too big and heavy for my travel photography usage. It’s a stunner of a lens, but just too much to carry around all day.

I hadn’t used the GF45 in a long, long time; since I got the GF32-64 F4, the extra stop of light gathering hasn’t been compelling enough (especially with IBIS) to bring it out. However, this trip made me realize I should be using this lens a lot more; it has that magic that sucked me into the GFX system in the first place. It’s small and light, focuses surprisingly fast on the GFX100 II, and is wickedly sharp. It also looks rather cool with the square metal lens hood I now have for it.

GFX100 II 45mm ISO-200 1/34sec f/8
GFX100 II 45mm ISO-160 1/180sec f/5.6

Due to the nature of the images I was taking, I didn’t get to use the GF110 as much as I wanted, but that lens is a forever lens so there’s no need to talk about its pros and cons or whether it stays or goes. It will never be sold as I believe it to be one of the greatest lenses ever created. The GF55 has already established itself as a killer low-light beast and a lens that I now take everywhere. I used it extensively with the family members to capture contextual memories.  

Hong Kong

Victoria Park is the epicentre of the Chinese New Year’s (CNY) celebrations with its epic annual flower market. Orchids are wildly popular because they bring fertility, abundance, refinement, luxury and innocence. Peach blossoms are also very popular, when placed in a large vase and spread very wide; the blossoms represent romance, prosperity and growth. Mandarins are also popular because the Chinese word for mandarins happens to be a pun on luck and fortune.

LEICA M11 50mm ISO-125 1/125sec f/11

This is the first post-pandemic market, and it was packed! I can’t imagine there being any more people in that amount of space, so this had to be the most successful flower market in years. It was great to see Hong Kong so busy again. I picked up some orchids and mandarins, with beautiful (and heavy) pots. It was quite the chore to carry them home by hand!

LEICA M11 50mm ISO-1600 1/125sec f/11

The other major event for the CNY is always the Victoria Harbour fireworks show. With China being the inventor of fireworks, expectations are always high and Hong Kong rarely disappoints. This year was no exception with a massive 20-minutes long fireworks extravaganza! We booked a room at The Conrad, adjacent to the Pacific Place complex. While the hotel is a bit old, the views were spectacular from the Chairman’s Suite. 

GFX100 II 55mm ISO-160 3.5sec f/4
GFX100 II 55mm ISO-800 1/2sec f/5

The below gallery has a few more images from around Hong Kong during the Chinese New Years holiday. It was a wonderful experience to be in Hong Kong during this time. For the second week of the new years holiday, I went to Bangkok and will share those images in the next few days.

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