The Hong Kong Shoot
So, doing a shoot 6000 miles away in a country that doesn’t speak your language, doesn’t have any signage you can understand and has a completely different definition of what a Chicken is can be a daunting prospect for many. Yet off we went to shoot for Annabelles Wigs.
With such a deliberate shoot as this where time and money are restricted everything becomes very fast paced and the pressure is on. Time is money.
There were several targets to achieve. I wanted an urban location to say ‘We’re in Hong Kong’, then along to Victoria Harbour for the cityscape in the background and then along to Stanley beach for a tropical look.
Needless to say with an overseas shoot, not everything went according to plan (nothing does). We had three hours and all went smoothly apart from when we arrived at Victoria Harbour. Smog, everywhere. Literally you couldn’t see more than 30 metres in front of you. With the skyscrapers being a mile away on the other side of the harbour all we had was white in the background so we moved on. It was important to realise when something just isn’t going to work and be a waste of time.
For the urban side of our Hong Kong shoot it was literally a case of starting outside the hotel and walking along the road, trucks unloading (like the above) took just a moment to do, then 10 metres away there was a wall with posters all over it which allowed for this:
We then climbed five stories to a rooftop for several shots like this:
Whilst up on the roof tops I noticed that the builders in China use Bamboo scaffold poles. While these are completely safe (they must be right?) it did make me gasp in disbelief probably because I’m so used to seeing metal ones in the UK.
Finally we stopped at Stanley Beach. By this time the mist had partially lifted and the sun became our biggest challenge. Fortunately I did have help from Claire (Annabelles Wigs) and our guide Kennis who assisted with styling and holding the external flashes. Without them the output wouldn’t of been anywhere near as good.
Buying Camera Equipment in Hong Kong
Now, this is going to serve as a heads up for anyone looking for discounted Camera Equipment in Hong Kong. Firstly new stuff. Generally your best bet is to buy anything you want from sellers on ebay that are based in Hong Kong. Even after shipping and duty it’s still going to be cheaper than buying whilst over there. For example I asked about the price of a Canon 5D3 in Hong Kong and it worked out at the same as the UK (£3000). There are importers in the UK who charge VAT and are still £400 cheaper than this. Lenses are pretty much the same. Even places like Fortress mark up things because people come over expecting to find a bargain when really there isn’t one to be had. I was there when the Ipad 3 was released and you could buy one as long as you spent £300 on screen covers and cheap plastic cases. Same dirty tricks as the UK – Be warned!
Buying Used Camera Equipment in Hong Kong
In a word, no, just don’t do it. We stayed in a hotel on Kimberley road and literally opposite us was around 10 shops all with used equipment in. It was camera heaven. I was looking for Hasselblad lenses. There isn’t much H series stuff about but loads of the V type. I found two things that I liked but both didn’t work. One was a Canon 50mm 1.0 ‘The One’ which focused fine on the camera but was completely blurred when I viewed the image. They wanted £3400 for this! Then I found a Hasselblad 100mm 2.2 – The autofocus didn’t work. I asked how much it was (thinking I could get it repaired) and they looked on ebay and quoted me the price listed for a new one.
So, save your sanity and avoid buying cameras over in Hong Kong. Or bags or shoes or anything because it is totally expensive. Starbucks, McDonalds and Taxis are the only things cheaper!