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Happy Chinese New Year 2010! ::

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Happy Chinese New Year 2010! ::

Happy Chinese New Year to those of you who celebrate it!

Went out to Glasgow's Chinatown to catch the lion and dragon dances performed by the Glasgow Hong Lok Dragon and Lion Dance Troupe since I just happened to notice the poster they had up last night while out at a family dinner.

Met an old friend while I was there who I hadn't kept in touch with for the past 10 years at least. I was told me they were originally going to perform on the poles which as you can imagine is very difficult when you have to jump between them in one swift movement. Not to mention they're carrying a heavy lion's head.

However, the rain meant it was a bit too risky in case one of the members slipped and injured themselves so, most of the performance took place indoors.

Not every year that Chinese New Year ends up being on the same day as Valentines Day. Maybe that's why there's a rose there? The last time the two days converged was in 1953 apparently.

Since it's a public holiday in Hong Kong, there's no excuse for one not to spend time with their other half. Maybe it applies to the West too because it happens to be a Sunday?

And at the end of the dance a scroll is unfurled with a greeting - "May everything go better than hoped" in this case.

The lion dance is performed outside stores and homes and as you may have already heard, scares away all the bad luck and evil spirits.

It felt like we were all taking pictures of each other and not the lion with so many camera phones, point and shoot cameras and other imaging equipment standing around in a circle facing each other ^^;

Usually the pupils are left out in the eyes and are painted on when it's a grand opening of a store. No idea how much this weighs...

A break from the lion dance and onto some drumming.

Then it was onto the dragon dance where they had to remove some of the lanterns but I think they had problems removing all of them. Started off a bit awkward as they adjusted positions to avoid the lanterns.

But went on smoothly.

Some of the children usually cry because of all the noise and scary big lions and dragons. Wasn't any different here. Think I was just scared of all the fire crackers though ^^;

Apart from all the dancing, we then have of course the Lucky Red Pockets that everyone loves since they're filled with money inside. However, the real idea behind most of Chinese culture has to do with the pronunciation of words. In this case these red pockets, "Li Shi" is to wish everything goes well over the new lunar year.

So that means you don't give out unlucky numbers to Chinese people either. It has to be an even number apart from the number "four" which is a big no no because it has a pronunciation that sounds the same as someone passing away. Very much the same way as in Sino language countries such as Korea and Japan.

At other times, "three" is a popular number because it has a similar pronunciation to "being alive" and "eight" has a similar pronunciation to "wealth".

In any case, all the Red Pocket Money should help with any Valentines expenses this year right...?

I kind of had second thoughts about going out since there was some showers and I couldn't fall asleep until 7am because of all the dense Chinese tea I had last night but can't miss a photo opportunity! I woke up in time anyway.

Right, musings about photography ahead so feel free to skip the rest of this post.

The photos were mostly taken inside where it was dimly lit so I decided to use ISO 800 for faster exposure times but even then I could only go as fast as 1/50 without flash. I thick I need to keep working on my stop action photo shoot techniques. The majority of the shots ended up capturing the wrong moment. Scattershots just doesn't work well - Need to learn to have the camera focused, ready and anticipate the moment.

Kind of envious of the guy that was carrying one of those fast standard zoom lenses with a constant wide aperture of f/2.8. They cost a fortune at £1000 ^^;

I think the difference between stop action photography and say simply extracting a still frame from an High Definition 60fps video is about not freezing everything but having the right parts focused while the others are motion blurred. The simplest example would be a car. If you froze everything in focus - The body, the wheels and the road there would be no visual impact within that shot. However, if you have a slight motion blur such as the wheels and road then you can feel the speed.

On the other hand, I could easily go as high as 1/2000 at ISO 100 outdoors. On the way to and back from Chinatown on the motorway I caught sight of these young deers. It's not a common sight so I wonder where they came from... Somehow they managed to wander from one side of the green embankments to the other without getting hurt.

Why not take a break?

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