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Shoot for Hong Kong

Canon PhotoMarathon Hong Kong
The annual Canon PhotoMarathon Hong Kong has grown dramatically since it launched in 2009

Some 3,000 contestants will set off from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre at 11am on 8 October to capture their best camera shots of Hong Kong, as the Canon PhotoMarathon gets under way. From morning to night, from urban jungle to wild woodlands, the best of Hong Kong’s diverse scenes and landscapes will be framed by the enthusiasts’ lenses.

Contestants in three categories – the Challenge, Open and new Student categories – will accept the "Shoot for Hong Kong" mission by taking photographs based on themes announced on the day of the event, while visiting designated checkpoints within a fixed time until the competition ends at 8:30pm.

The first Canon PhotoMarathon Hong Kong was held in 2009, attracting 300 amateur and professional photographers from across the city to compete in a day-long contest devised to challenge their skills and stoke their inspiration. In its ninth edition, 3,000 contestants – 10 times the original number – will join in, with organisers promising to introduce new elements, “providing an unforgettable photography experience for participants.” Owners of any camera brand may participate through registration.

The inclusion of night-time shooting allows the Challenge category contestants to employ scenery changes from day to night and capture the beauty of darkness to create photos with enhanced diversity.

Organisers say that the addition of “secret” checkpoints has been an essential element to challenge contestants’ time-management skills and provide a real “Shoot for Hong Kong” experience through enhanced community engagement. This year’s secret checkpoint, they noted, will offer contestants delightful and inspiring experiences.

Proceeds to Charity

Participants pay an enrolment fee, which is donated in full to a charitable organisation. The anticipated HK$600,000 expected to be raised from the event will support this year’s beneficiary, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups’ new Digital Adventure-Based Leadership Programme at the former Fanling Magistracy.

The judging panel includes Topaz Leung, Creative Director of Studio TM; travel photography book author Celia Cheng; veteran photojournalist Brian Ching and Tsai King Yan, head of Studio Sai.

Grand prizes include an all-expenses paid trip for the Challenge, while Open category winners can join regional winners in the Canon PhotoMarathon Asia Championship later in the year.

The event is just one of many opportunities for photo enthusiasts to indulge their hobby in Hong Kong.

Unique Scenes

Edward Barnieh
Hong Kong-based photographer Edward Barnieh has a huge Instagram following for his images of the city

Edward Barnieh, a Hong Kong-based British professional photographer, said there is no place like the city for unleashing artistic creativity. By exploring Hong Kong and shooting regularly, Mr Barnieh has amassed 189,000 Instagram followers.

“Hong Kong is a great place for shooting because it looks so unique compared to other cities, and is fascinating for outsiders,” he said. The proximity of mountains to urban density makes for intriguing photography, he added. “There is nothing else like it in the world on this scale.”

Hong Kong
One of the iconic Hong Kong scenes captured by Edward Barnieh

Mr Barnieh also noted the “fantastic photography community here, which always pushes me to keep creating new things and breaking boundaries.”

That community includes various social clubs for hobbyists, including the Cathay Camera Club, established in 1982 with the aim of bringing together people of all backgrounds, professions and nationalities to learn new photography skills in a friendly atmosphere. Its founders adopted the name Cathay, used by Marco Polo to describe the area that is today mainly identified as modern China.

Hobbyists Unite

ifc
This image by Cathay Camera Club member Frank Zschieschang shows Central skyscraper ifc shrouded in heavy fog
Hong Kong workers
Hong Kong workers pull together, as photographed by Cathay Camera Club member Gary Jones

Idalina Silva, Cathay Camera Club Secretary, said that a joint interest in a hobby such as photography is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.

“It is an amateur club, but we do have some members who are semi-professional,” Ms Silva said. “Some past members have even taken the leap into professional photography, which is something that some of us aspire to.”

Meetings are held twice a month, currently in a private function room at Iberico & Co, in the Hong Kong Island neighbourhood of Soho. In addition to informative workshops on Photoshop and flash photography, talks and demonstrations are presented by visiting experts, along with occasional excursions and an annual exhibition. Guest professional photographers critique digital and printed images during a photo competition held each month.

Members find the wildlife opportunities “stunning” and  in complete contrast to the city’s iconic urban scenes. “The buildings we have in Hong Kong, the people who live and work here, and the hustle and bustle of the city are all great subjects,” Ms Silva added. “I think you would be hard- pressed to find a place with such diverse opportunities.”

On the Wild Side

Dr Martin Williams
Dr Martin Williams, a prolific recorder of Hong Kong photographic images
A leopard cat
A leopard cat photographed in Hong Kong by nature photographer Dr Martin Williams

Dr Martin Williams, a freelance writer, photographer and videographer, specialising in capturing images of Hong Kong landscapes and wildlife, agreed.

“Hong Kong is a many-splendoured place, with a great variety [of subjects] to shoot in the wild side – from hills, ravines with waterfalls, reservoirs amidst forest, through diverse birds, butterflies and other wildlife, to rural villages and temples, and even scenes combining rugged hills and soaring skyscrapers,” he said. Based in Hong Kong since 1987, Dr Williams has written numerous articles for magazines and newspapers, including BBC Wildlife, National Wildlife, Reader's Digest, South China Morning Post and Ming Pao Weekly.

Several Cathay Camera Club members are taking part in this year’s Canon PhotoMarathon and Ms Silva said: “I am keeping my fingers crossed they will be successful with their entries.”

Related Links
Canon PhotoMarathon
Cathay Camera Club
Dr Martin Williams
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