Cheung Chau PhotoExplorer
Cheung Chau is a small yet fascinating island, offering a chance for a wonderfully varied day trip. There's a village beside a harbour that's home to one of Hong Kong's largest fishing fleets, and with the three-storey houses arrayed along narrow streets it has an almost Mediterranean atmosphere. The only car is a police car.
On the Cheung Chau PhotoExplorer, resident and expert photographer Martin Williams will guide you around the village, along coastal trails, and to side trails even few locals know.
Many Hong Kong people and overseas tourists visit Cheung Chau to enjoy the village's laidback atmosphere, as well as the two swimming beaches. There are temples too, to Tin Hau, Goddess of the Sea, and Pak Tei, the Northern King - who is akin to Cheung Chau's patron saint. Along the streets are small stores, traditional shrines for Earth Gods who look after neighbourhoods, a sacred banyan tree.
Relatively few people venture beyond the village and beaches, yet there are outstanding coastal trails past quiet inlets and tors - huge blocks of naturally sculpted granite perched on hillsides facing the South China Sea. Some tors are along a path known as the Mini Great Wall, and are named for looking a little like a human head, a vase, an elephant, even a zombie. One huge boulder looks precariously perched above a low cliff, near a tiny cave where legend has it a pirate stashed his booty.
Winding trails lead by ruined houses from colonial times. There are tiny farms, where flowering trees attract colourful birds and butterflies.
Martin will share his wealth of photography knowledge - giving you the opportunity to learn more, from basics such as exposure and depth of field, to composition, and tips on techniques ranging from mini landscapes to making the best of the weather ranging from blue skies to storm clouds rolling in.
What to Expect
Meet at the ferry pier on Cheung Chau. After a brief introduction, head to one of the more tranquil parts of the island, for an introduction to photography skills, and a chance to begin putting them into practice.
This is not a high level photography course, but aims to boost your knowledge no matter whether you use an SLR, a point-and-shoot camera, or a smartphone - or perhaps a drone. It will include encouraging you to not solely rely on auto settings - if you're like many people and tend to do this. Covering aspects like shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and the ways they impact depth of field, capturing movement, image noise and more.
Also - and more importantly - designing an image, using composition and colour. Advice on getting shots that make the best of a scene.
In just a few hours on Cheung Chau, it's possible to photograph a wide range of images - from wild looking coastlines, through weather sculpted rocks, to flowers, birds, fishing boats, temple buildings and close ups of temple paintings ... and more.
The aim is for you to not only learn and hone skills to last a lifetime, but also to come away with a set of photos that serve as reminders of a rewarding day on a South China Sea island - which is barely a stone's throw from Hong Kong city yet can seem a world away.
Note that the itinerary will be flexible, depending partly on weather, time of year - such as whether certain trees are in bloom, and your interests.
9.15am Arrive Cheung Chau, and meet Martin. Explore part of Cheung Chau on foot - probably to the southeast including Mini Great Wall and the tors there, plus a quiet bay with a Tin Hau Temple and photogenic rocky shorelines.
12.30pm - Lunch at a restaurant overlooking Cheung Chau harbour [not included in price]
1.30pm - Continue exploring to other areas, such as the scenic southwest coastline, as well as the harbour with fishing boats and waterfront.
5.40pm - Conclusion; though if the weather is promising there may be an option of staying till after sunset, for photography in what with luck will be "golden hour", and perhaps in twilight.
HK$2800 per person for one person, HK$4200 for two people; HK$5800 for three or more people.
Even days with passing rainstorms can provide photo opportunities.
I can also advise on using filters (mainly polariser; here graduated ND and variable ND) and some fairly basic photo editing techniques.