Blend of Time
Fragrant Harbour - Victoria Harbour Hong Kong
Trams - Ding Ding
One of the events that’s on my recommended list is Mid Autumn Festival that also is known under different names such as Moon Festival, Mooncake (edible from traditional with egg inside to new modern twist with ice-cream or chocolate to name a few) Festival, Harvest (originally looked upon as a celebration of that years crops) as well as Lantern Festival.
The event is held on the 15th day of the 8 month in the Chinese calendar so one needs to do a little planning ahead to work out the dates when planning a trip.  For 2016 it falls on September the 26,28,& 29th.  For 2016 September 16,17 & 18th. It’s considered one of the most important local events in Hong Kong so many families will get together for a family meal.

  • 2015-09-28---Fire-Dragon-Tai-Hang-Stack
  • 2015-09-28---Tai-Hang-Fire-Dragon-Action
  • 2013-09-21-Victoria-Park-Lantarn
  • 2014-09-08-PokFuLam-Village
  • 2014-09-09-Tai-Hang Fire Dragon
  • 2015-09-29---Tai-Hang-Fire-Dragon-Dance
  • PokFuLam Fire Dragon
  • The head of the Fire Dragon
  • Disposing of evil spirits into the harbour
  • Tai Hang - Hong Kong - Fire Dragon MidAutumn
  • Running of the Fire Dragon
  • 2012-09-30---Tin-Hau-Fire-Dragon
  • 2014-09-07---Tai-Hang-Fire-Dragon_DSC6563---colour
  • 2012-09-30---Tin-Hau-Fire-Dragon
Mid-Autumn festival falls on a full moon and there are many folk tales about the lady and the bunny and the moon.

For those who are looking for something a little more lively than mooncakes or lanterns to photograph I highly recommend attending Tai Hang or Pok Fu Lam Fire Dragon Dance.  The one at Tai Hang (Tin Hau) is the easiest to attend as it’s close to the MTR line a few minutes from Victoria Park.  The Tai Hang one also runs for 3 consecutive days. The Pok Fu Lam falls on the evening of Mid-Autumn for one evening only.  It’s a much humbler event with much less people but more of an old community feel as the community itself is very much old world Hong Kong and also not as easy to access.

2014 Review – Tai Hang – Victoria Park

This year I discovered the Lin Fa Temple at the end of Lin Fa Kung Street.  The temple is very quaint and looks to be fairly new. The fire dragon enters the temple first for its ritual as the tail wraps around the outside of the building.  The temple is very much like an urban oasis in the concrete jungle.  The weather on the first night was hot and humid and we had a hard down pour for a couple minutes before the event kicked off but made the crowd more bearable.  A drone was spotted before the fire dragon proceeded and the police quickly had it grounded on the grounds of endangering the safety of the public.  The community has been going through some radical changes and in a few years the area will look nothing like it does today.  I noticed many more western style restaurants and the local ones were not open today. As far as the Fire Dragon event itself it just getting better and better.  It kicked off a little late at 8:30 this year maybe because of the rain and also new safety protocols.  They also seemed to be spending more times on side streets at the start of the show to help reduce congestion issues.  After 9:30 the crowds thinned out but the show went into overdrive as the dragon went around the young girls holding lanterns as well as the large candle lit Tai Hang Fire Dragon sign.  Some new pictures have been added from tonights event (Sept 7)  Victoria Park this year did not have a special larger than life lantern design like the last few years.  I have not heard any reasons as to why but I will try to discover why this occurred and if they will return as many people flocked to Victoria Park to witness it and photograph it.

2014 Review – PokFuLam Village 薄扶林村

PokFuLam Village dates back to the 17th century and a World Heritage protected site that is often mistaken for a shanty town that I refer to as old Hong Kong.  Those in the new world skyscrapers might look down at them in more than one way they have a sense of community that still attracts people of all walks of life.  Comparing Tai Hang and PokFuLam is like comparing night and day.  This is very much a community event with all ages inserting the joss sticks to getting up close and carrying the actual dragon.   They now have two dragons that are both much smaller in length than Tai Hang but one stays static while the other one does dance through the very narrow paths of the old village as well as the street path to the local temple for blessing.

Mid Autumn Festival = Fire Dragons and Lanterns and so much more.

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Photographer Tips

As with most events in Hong Kong pack a meal, bring lots of fluids and your patience.  In order to get a prime spot one can never get set-up earlier enough.  Expect lots of smoke as the fire dragon is made up lots of joss sticks.  They actually use a blow torch to light them and they change them in the middle of the dance.  As far as camera set-up I recommend ensuring the white balance has been set to a tested setting as fluorescent lighting will be an issue if shooting in jpg but as always I recommend RAW.  This is actually a time to shoot in jpg if you want to shoot in quick bursts as less write lag time on memory cards.  The action is fast so it’s important to try and bring out the drama of the dance.  Flashes should be turned off if you want get a sharp image but give up the sense of drama.  All lined up is such a common error in photography.  I recommend trying to get a different perspective as it changes the whole experience one is recording.

3-1 Aspect Ratio Panoramic Pictures
3-to-2 Aspect Ratio Pictures
4 to 1 Aspect Ratio Panoramic Pictures