Adventures and New Years

 

Feb. 2nd, 2014

 

After the first failed attempt at flying the first kite, and after simply not having enough wind to work with on the second kite, it was time to change my environment. On the studio rooftop (where I attempted flight both times), you are able to see a hilltop that looks to be just slightly taller than the very roof I that was standing on. Time to get there. See the white steps? It looked steep even from that distance - and believe me, was it ever steep.

I figured the hilltop was bound to have more wind, as there should be less buildings blocking airflow. Before I left I packed some extra supply in case things went wary and the kite broke - I knew there would be no coming back once I started the climb. Off I went, camera on my back, and kite a in bag. After a good ten minutes trying to find out how to get to even the base of the hill, I finally found it. It was almost hidden from sight, I'm not sure why. When I finally found the first set of steps, somehow it wasn't until I took my first step to begin my climb that I realized how steep it really was:

This'll be fun, right? It wasn't. Nothing to hold you in place, and no rails on any of the flat ground. And of course the kite broke. But that's alright, because I packed supplies to fix it in case things went bad - except that I totally left them in the studio! I was forced to rely on whatever I had on hand and the materials of nature to fix the snapped balsa wood (with the apparently useless glue that I remembered to bring):

Once I finally made it as far as the steps (more like ladders) would take me, I found this guy at the top. Can you see him (and the first guard rail in sight)?

If you've been following this blog, you'll notice that there have been quite a lot of wild dogs I photograph - I seem to encounter them everywhere. Despite how isolated this one looks, he was not. But he sure was peaceful, unlike his friends.

I walked around the peak for a moment and realized a few things. First, I could have gotten a car ride up here. Second, I was not the only person there. There were a handful of men chatting away at the top. Third, there was actually a really nice, safe looking, leisurely alternative path I could have taken to the top. Lastly, there was more dogs. Can you see the white bags on the cement? They look more like trash in the photo (no these were not white dogs).

I went to go inspect, and it would turn out they were bags full of cooked meat - typical foods you'd find in the markets. At first I was puzzled, and then it became all too clear as to their odd placement when I was met with a deep growl from behind me. I turned around to find three wild dogs (the black dog was not present), not more than 6 feet away, slowly inching up to me in a half circle formation. The men chatting at the top of the hill must have left this food for them. My options were:

 

A) Fight to the death over something I didn't even want

B) Fight to the death over something I didn't even want and tumble down the mountain

C) Back away slowly and try to take a picture of the wild pack of dogs, and then possibly fight to the death over something I didn't even want

D) Back away slowly (yes, other Education majors, I realize my answers are not properly pyramided, but no, I do not care)

 

I chose option D! Therefore I am alive but there is no photo of the hangry (so hungry that they're angry) dogs. Sorry to dissapoint. Never in my life have I understood something so primal. I did in the end however, manage to get the following shot of the kite - the reason I decided to get to the top of the hill in the first place.

It wasn't what I expected, but that's what I really enjoy about the kite series. I can only plan so much - the rest depends on elements essentially outside of my control: the wind, the form altered by the wind, and the light. It's almost like trying to photograph wildlife - you wait and you wait for that perfect moment to use the shutter, but sometimes that moment never comes. Sometimes you just have to go with what you've got, take it or leave it. Hesitate for even a moment and what could have been a great shot, never gets captured. It does not let you decide what is right and what is wrong, for it simply is. It's a big stretch from my usual, more tedious studio work. The first attempt at this piece went so wrong that I had to redo it, evidence of my nature. Controlled, precise, but not without flaw... somehow I'm okay with that. The two mediums coexist with each other for the moment. One solidified, the other fleeting. Which one is which for me changes all the time.

 

                                                                                                     working shot of the touch up stage

Complete!

I should also mention that Chinese New Years has just passed! Happy year of the Horse! It didn't really hit me till the night of the 1st, of how special this really was. Back home for me, Chinese New Years has never been that big of a deal - here some companies take a week off. They even shut down the studio for a couple of days so I've been forced into taking a break. I'm so happy to have experienced this in Hong Kong.

Plenty of dancing in the streets

Everyone was there for the same reason, and the streets came to a standstill as I approached the harbor and got stuck here.

At 8pm, the people got what they were waiting for

Horse racing was free to watch as well for the New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!