My Photography Journey

Pretty much a summary of my photography journey from the beginning to a new beginning.

My Photography Journey

Ever since I know photography as a thing, I tried to take part in this hobby as much as I could. From playing with those disposable point-and-shoot cameras, to a Casio Digital Camera, to shooting with varies smartphones. It was a journey and I tried to get better ever since.

Chapter 0 : The lost chapter

Obviously, the part of where I do use those disposable camera as the name suggested most of them already got disposed. The only thing that still left? One of the camera with all the guts out made by Panorama.

Panorama disposable camera purchased god knows when, taken with a Pixel 5 in 2021.

Chapter 1 : Digital Camera

Back around 2011 (damn 10 years ago already), somehow I were able to convince my mother to buy me a digital camera for taking photo when going on to travel around.

Back then, there wasn't a lot of choices given my budget under a sort of below average household income. I picked one of the Casio camera which was on sale for some $800 HKD with a 8GB SD card to start-off. It was a time when I have had zero idea what's good or bad, and the only thing I know is the brand Casio. Thinking back now, Casio doesn't really manfacture much camera don't they?😂

Here are some photo taken back then that I have to pull from Facebook... (Original file probably long gone)

A photo of two DSLR (One from Nikon, one from Sony) that seemingly laughing at my low cost Casio DC.
My best shot trying to create bokeh by shooting really close to the subject (It's not like I know the word bokeh at that point of time LOL)
RIP the low light performance, did a decent job trying to frame the photo tho. +1 for trying

Chapter 2 : Thank you Steve Jobs

Of course as a 90s - 00s -ish kid, your first true usable camera really is an iPhone 4 (and of course the best iPhone is still the 4). Mine was a gift from my uncle to help me get on mobile app programming, fun fact is that I still have zero experience building native iPhone app LOL ($49 USD per year for the developer license wasn't really the best way to get a high school student to programming).

At first I just take photo for uploading to Facebook, then Instagram, I even tried once taking timelapse of the Victoria Habour of Hong Kong!

Kitty from 2013 in Stanley, Hong Kong. (I wonder how it is doing... Probably dead...? QAQ)
The port of Stanley with very heavy smog. Love those vintage dinggy!
Cool pic of a bunch of skateboard (Of course I got myself mirrored on the glass)
And a short timelapse of the old Kai Tak airport runway out to the Victoria Habour from 2014.
A good photo plus good weather of the Victoria Habour from a ferry in 2014.

Chapter 2.5 : Android Phones

Alright, just a quick part where I switched from iPhone 4 to an Android phone and seems like my photography skills have gotten better.

Very clear and skilled photo of the new phone from ASUS with Sony a sensor.

Chapter 3 : Borrowed Time (Nikon D700)

Until 2015, I've been using smartphone to take 100% of the photo and it have helped me improve in terms of framing and planning for a photoshoot. However in terms of actually learning about photography, especially on things like ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed etc, I basically have zero experience messing around on those settings.

Back in 2015, with the help from my best friend I was able to borrow a set of Nikon D700 camera with one zoom lens which in total worth like a month of salary. Got on a ferry, travel our way to Cheung Chau, and enjoy my time taking photo of various things on the island.

Till today, I still remember meeting my crush at that time on the island as she was there for a marathon event. And I still remember the first time experiencing things like getting dust on the lens, over-exposure due to extreme sunlight and true bokeh.

Camera and ocean does not play well do they...? (Bokeh anyways!)
Welcome to Cheung Chau!
Lock of Love + over-exposure on those white walls and floor tile
Used to use this as desktop wallpaper for a while, it was supposed to be a clear photo but turns out focusing on Nikon D700 viewfinder wasn't that easy. (Thank god for modern OLED viewfinder with good contrast and resolution!)
And last usable photo before it completely when dark, CMOS on Nikon wasn't the best to take photo at night even with f2.8

Chapter 4 : Onboard the Sony Bandwagen

Okay, time to fast forward to year 2018 (3 years ago). I was already trying back in 2017 while in Taiwan to acquire a bridge camera that give me access to 50x times optical zoom to take photo of birds and animals in great distance. The reason of getting a bridge camera are:

  1. It is cheap, much cheaper than a DSLR or mirrorless
  2. It is more less a camera with a powerful lens
  3. You can do pretty much everything except for taking raw

I got 3 possible choice, Sony Cybershot HX400V / Sony Cybershot HX300V / Canon PowerShot SX540. I decided to go for a HX400V as it was the most affordable one on the second hand market.

Le me with the Sony HX400V.

The truth to be told, it wasn't perfect and I didn't expect it to be perfect, it simply got the job done.

Perfect for taking photo of the moon with 50x optical zoom, 100x digital zoom. Since sensor is small, artifacts are unavoidable...
Taking wonderful sunset in the Philippines? Zero issue!
Don't worry, killer cat does not exist. Besides, I was like 2 meters away from this mini-tiger.
Bird in Japan, absolutely perfect for this camera. But the bokeh in the back is not that good, the downside of small sensor.
And this is Jeff, oh deer.

Chapter 5 : To Mirrorless and Beyond

Finally in 2020 I got into the game of real photography with my first brand new camera. Ever since I got the Sony HX400V, I always wanted something with a bigger sensor especially for night time photography.

Originally I was looking at another bridge camera the Sony RX10 IV. However after reviewing the sensor size, I don't really see the benefit of switching from HX400V to RX10 IV apart from the resolution increase and 4K video recording. Also if you look at the pricing, the retail price here in Hong Kong for RX10 is $13,990 HKD MSRP. If we look at Sony a7 III, the cost is just $15,990 HKD MSRP. A $2,000 HKD increase gives you the possibility to change new lenses. (I know I know, $15,990 does not include any lens.)

At the end, I end up with a Sony a7 III + a Sony 24-70mm f4.0 zoom lens (my biggest regret of the purchase). With this setup I finally able to explore photography every weekend and try to master my skillset in stills and video production.

Look at that gorgeous bokeh with my friend's cat.

You see, I've made a mistake. I should have bought myself a better lens that maybe cost $2,000 more for a G-lens with much faster f-stop. Good thing with a7 III, I can buy a second hand prime lens with relatively low cost. I pickedup myself a 55mm f1.8 prime lens for better portrait and street photography.

Perfect when use with a 55mm f1.8 prime lens, absolutely beautiful sunset wtih frame of good foreground and background.
With a f1.8 lens, it is perfect for indoor photography where natural light is not that available while you don't really want to bring in a massive LED light to light up the whole scene.
Night light and neon light, perfect for the camera. Wish I could fly to Toyko and make a flim with cyberpunk vibe!

What next? Honestly I am not sure, but certainly I am looking at a new lens perhaps a 35mm? Hopefully more photo to come after COVID and all the travel ban.

Photography is an art that relies on right time, right place, and right people; to capture the best, and the worst of life; to capture the moment of life that you will never ever experience ever again; but to be revisit, reimagined, and realized the meaning of life and future.