SOLI­TARY PLEA­SURES

Land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher Kelvin Yuen, whose work has be­gun to get no­ticed in in­ter­na­tional cir­cles, re-vis­ited his fa­vorite shoot­ing spot in HK re­cently. China Daily pho­tog­ra­pher Roy Liu and reporter Chi­tralekha Basu went with him.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HK -

at the High Is­land East Dam Reser­voir, one of the lo­ca­tions on the list of Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Great Out­doors cam­paign.

When Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) de­cided to launch the Great Out­doors Hong Kong cam­paign in Novem­ber, they picked Kelvin Yuen Sze-lok as their photo con­sul­tant. It was a some­what odd choice, for Yuen was yet to turn 20 when he landed the job. An un­der­grad stu­dent of bi­ol­ogy at Bap­tist Uni­ver­sity of Hong Kong, Yuen had not lived long enough to build a port­fo­lio to ri­val that of the vet­er­ans of land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy in this city. How­ever, there were at least two things to rec­om­mend him by — sev­eral thou­sand ded­i­cated fol­low­ers on so­cial me­dia and a top award won at the Na­tional Ge­o­graphic In­ter­na­tional Photo Con­test 2015, in the youth cat­e­gory.

HKTB au­thor­i­ties, one imag­ines, were taken by the shine of youth that sparkles through Yuen’s snap­shots. The Great Out­doors drive is, essen­tially, about “show­cas­ing the nine award-win­ning or in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized hik­ing trails and cy­cling routes, in­clud­ing the MacLe­hose Trail, Wil­son Trail and Dragon’s Back”, says an HKTB spokesper­son. The cam­paign is about draw­ing at­ten­tion to Hong Kong’s vast swathes of forested park­lands and breath-tak­ing vista of vol­canic rock for­ma­tions which tend to get over­looked in fa­vor of the more tour- isty at­trac­tions down­town. Yuen seemed an ideal am­bas­sador of the cam­paign. He had al­ways loved get­ting away from home, ex­plor­ing the bril­liant nat­u­ral ter­rains of Hong Kong that not many peo­ple know of and even fewer ven­ture into — all on his own, cam­era in hand, since he was about 17.

“Yuen shared his tips on cap­tur­ing Hong Kong’s nat­u­ral beauty in the brand-new Great Out­doors Hong Kong guide­book, from which read­ers can learn use­ful skills for tak­ing great pic­tures while they are en­joy­ing the stun­ning scenery in the city’s great out­doors,” the HKTB spokesper­son adds.

We fol­lowed Yuen to one of his fa­vorite hik­ing/shoot­ing spots — High Is­land Reser­voir East Dam, sur­rounded on three sides by an in­tense bee­hive of hexag­o­nal vol­canic rocks that rose from the sea hun­dreds of mil­lions years ago. On a clear day it’s pos­si­ble to get a per­fect mir­ror im­age of the rugged land and the clouds above re­flected on the waters. Un­for­tu­nately, it was too windy on the day we vis­ited, when it would be dif­fi­cult to pull off a mir­ror im­age on the rest­less waters. “On such a day as this, I would fo­cus more on the com­po­si­tion,” said Yuen. “I would put an ob­ject or hu­man be­ing in the pic­ture and use the stun­ning scenery as the back­ground.”

He dug out his phone and took a few quick snaps. Yuen, who picked up his tech­nique pri­mar­ily from the in­ter­net, says good land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy is not nec­es­sar­ily about us­ing so­phis­ti­cated, pro­fes­sional equip­ment. “It’s pri­mar­ily about how you com­pose the pic­ture. A nice com­po­si­tion and good weather can do the trick.”

Soon Yuen will be trav­el­ing to Germany to pho­to­graph a snow-capped Zugspitze, on a com­mis­sion from the Ger­man Tourism Board. The city boy who loves trav­el­ing solo will prob­a­bly camp at the base of Germany’s tallest peak and gaze at the stars, all by him­self, as he waits for the per­fect click.

ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY

Kelvin Yuen

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