H to the K

July 13, 2012 | Misc. Photos

Meg and I took a little hop over the North Pole and have arrived in Hong Kong. It’s our first trip to Asia. Meg is passed out and I’m wide awake. I tried to go to sleep but I’m in this huge city that seems to be alive 24 hours a day. I had to hit the streets just for a little while. We are here to be part of Creative Asia.



Worry about your checked luggage? I think ours was safer in the hands of Delta than our taxi. I just made a post recently about traveling with gear on my new Q&A blog. We’re in the Mongkok area. If you are familiar with HK let us know what are some places we have to see and places where we have to eat. I’d like to avoid pig anus soup… but when in Rome… I’m ready to Bourdain this town!

Hope all of you are well. Thanks for the conversations about the last few posts on here recently. Glad to see so many people carrying the torch and busting their tails doing great work.




  • Mike said on July 13, 2012

    Lots of great photo ops in the mid levels in Central. Great shopping in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui (just down Nathan Rd from you in MK. Head to Shek-O for the best beach you’ve ever seen.

    Dinner at Hutong in TST (1 Peking Road); expensive, but Michelin- starred Chinese is well worth it.

    Enjoy! Gawd, I miss HK.

  • Eric Petetrsen said on July 13, 2012

    I know it’s touristy but go to The Peak. Amazing views of the city. http://www.flickr.com/photos/epmd/68656670/

  • Miles Slater said on July 13, 2012

    Welcome to Hong Kong Zack!

    If you’re still awake and out walking the streets at this time then hit up Wanchai for some nocturnal street photography. It’s pretty crazy but there’s a tonne of memorable images waiting to be captured… Think lots of neon signs, drunken expats, ‘Suzie Wong’ type ladies and plenty hustle and bustle till 4am!

  • Chris Sorensen said on July 13, 2012

    Been living in HK since January. Go see Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden, not too far from where you’re staying. Wong Tai Sin MTR stop. Also not far from you is the Goldfish Market, Flower Market, and Bird Market. And the Jade Market and Ladies Market. Mongkok is the mot densely populated area in the world, so plenty of street action for shooting.

    And further away, the Peak and the Big Buddha.

    P.S. Mongkok, no C.

  • Brad said on July 13, 2012

    Love the vibrant colours from the neon lights out there. You also can’t go wrong when Bourdain’ing it up!

  • Denver Portrait Photographer said on July 13, 2012

    Ride the ferry across the bay.
    Take the tram up to honk kong peak.
    Check out any good dim sum resteraunt, don’t go to the one that’s really close to the bay, near the art museum.
    Ignore all the rude people (there are lots of them, it’s a different culture)
    Don’t let meg get near the stores or you’ll end up broke.
    Go to the public zoo in the middle of HK, it’s free, and extremely pretty.

  • scott said on July 13, 2012

    Go to King’s Park, or even better Kowloon Park first thing in the morning, there are loads of people doing Tai Chi, makes for superb people shots. Also the bird market is small but another wonderfully colourful “street” shooters paradise.

  • Danny Bailey said on July 13, 2012

    There’s always Subway to fill in the gap.

  • Mike said on July 13, 2012

    Make sure you consume copious quantities of char siu bao (BBQ pork buns). They’re pretty good here in Toronto, but they’re outrageously good in HK. Even the ones from 7-Eleven in HK are as good as ours at home.

  • Aaron Pelly said on July 13, 2012

    The one thing you really need to do in Hong Kong is meet up with Kai Wong and collaborate on an episode of DigitalRev.

  • Leif Hurst said on July 13, 2012

    You’re just a kid in a candy store over there!

  • Leif Hurst said on July 13, 2012

    @Aaron Pelly… check out this tweet I got from Kai/DigitalRev last night. https://twitter.com/digitalrev/status/223602973408886784

  • ryan said on July 13, 2012

    Just wondering what your weapon of choice is for these street shots. xpro? x100?

  • Zack said on July 14, 2012

    @ryan – x100

  • Donna Luker said on July 13, 2012

    I love traveling vicariously! Thank you!

  • Jakob said on July 13, 2012

    There’s noting like a head-dive into a new setting and a different culture – great for inspiration and creativity. Looking forward to more …

  • Aaron Pelly said on July 13, 2012

    @ Leif: Thank you!

  • Seth Nenstiel said on July 13, 2012

    Delta was good on my trip to Taipei! The taxis were always crazy—but they got the job done. Love the pictures of the lights!

  • Chip Kalback said on July 13, 2012

    Check out the Peninsula Hotel for afternoon tea (and great live jazz), Kung Tak Lam for really awesome vegetarian food and a killer view of the harbor (it’s on the 7th floor at 1 Peking Road Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon) and the garden at Chi Lin Nunnery (in Diamond Hill, Kowloon) which also has some unbelievably good vegetarian dining. Lantau Island is also cool if you want to jump on a short boat ride and go out there for a day.

  • Stephen said on July 13, 2012

    Love and miss street shooting in HK :D

  • andy said on July 13, 2012

    You are going to love it there!

    you have to go eat dim sum at superstar seafood it’s unbelievable!

    The nightlife in wan chai is absolutely crazy and you have to check it out at least one night! Go up to the budda!
    If you’ve got time head out on the fairy to lama island and hit the beach…no cars allowed it’s awesome!

    Oh and if you can hit the horse races on a wednesday it’s duo much fun

  • Brian said on July 13, 2012

    Make sure to hit up the outdoor markets, night, ladies, fish, bird, great places to shoot. Also make sure to hit one of the almost western free cities, Tai Wai was my favorite. There I was a tourist attraction for the locals. Hong Kong is a great city and it’s people are great at helping the travelers.

  • Frank said on July 13, 2012

    I’m also looking forward to a meetup with DigitalRev.

  • Daniel said on July 13, 2012

    SUPER Jealous! HK is even wilder than NYC I hear. Don’t be afraid of the food man, like you said, Go out like Tony Bourdain.

  • Andrew said on July 14, 2012

    For all you need to know about camera stores in HKG check out this excellent three part series:


  • Don said on July 14, 2012

    Zack, it’s a lot to soak up. But since you’ve already been to India, I’m sure your senses are well trained. Some not-to-miss photo ops:

    *The contrast between “modern” Central district on the Hong Kong Island side vs. “traditional” Chinese areas like Western District (island side) and Mongkok (note correct spelling, i.e. no “c”) –> great photo ops in the wet markets but be wary of folks who don’t want to be photographed, less a meat cleaver come flying your way
    *The mass of humanity that converges around Causeway Bay’s wide open shopping district (not unlike what you see in places like Shinjuku in Tokyo)
    *The congregation of Southeast Asian domestic helpers (as far as the eye can see) in Central District on a Sunday morning (their one day off out of the week to socialize and catch-up)

    As for food, ask what it is. If you’re adventurous, give it a go. Even if the components turn out to be gross, more than likely, the flavor will be great. If you’re not adventurous, then avoid what you can’t recognize.

    Enjoy the experience, you two. I’m jealous.


  • Don said on July 14, 2012

    P.S. Who’s watching the kids? Hawk Danger in tow? :)

  • Zack said on July 14, 2012

    No way! Asia isn’t ready for the Danger boy. Wait. No. We aren’t ready to fly 18 hours with him. Family is staying at the house with the kids.

  • Don said on July 14, 2012

    The photo of the two guys eating on an office desk in the middle of a sidewalk: AWESOME!

  • Nick said on July 14, 2012

    Go for Clay Pot rice; Four Seasons just off of the Temple Street Market.

    Order 1 Clay Pot rice pork and do not forget to get the Oyster Pankake as an appetizer. Lineup may be long but wait. Should cost <5$.

    Thank me later with a blog post with photos.

  • Peter said on July 14, 2012

    Hey Zack, I know its last minute but do you know if there are any slots left for Monday or Tuesday OneLight Workshop. Am in Sydney and would need to jump on a plane pretty quick. You have been a real inspiration in your work, convictions and integrity and I dont want to miss this opportunity if it might happen. Cant make the week long course :-(

    Drop me a line if you think I can still get in…

  • Zack said on July 14, 2012

    I think there are spots left! C’mon!


  • peter said on July 14, 2012

    Only camera I have in my hands at short notice is the x100. (Busy bidding on Canon TTL cord :-)

    That said I have been shooting for a long while and very confident with it. Just dont want to miss the opportunity to spend some time with a strong positive influence and educator.

  • Tim said on July 14, 2012

    Hey Zack, welcome to HK. I’ve been living here for 10 years now. If you like I’d be happy to bring you two around to some places.
    You two are still free tomorrow (Sunday)?

    Otherwise will see you on Tuesday. I’ll be that guy who will be crazy like a teenage girl seeing the Bieb :P , to finally meet you. OK kidding, but still looking forward to the workshop.

  • Spike said on July 14, 2012

    Zack, I’ve been in HK for 15 years and I’m an amateur photographer who co-owns a professional studio here.

    Look, you can do the standard tourist stuff – go to the Peak, the Star Ferry, the Big Buddha. You’ll undoubtedly get some good shots of the same things a million other people have photographed. Or you can ….

    1) Visit a small island with tons of history and culture, such as Cheung Chau.

    2) See some of vanishing Hong Kong in areas like Sheung Wan (block after block of really old shops selling dried seafood and medicinal stuff and odd bits of odd animals) or Sham Shui Po (street markets with lots of stalls selling old electronics and cameras), areas that are still relatively untouched by gentrification but will probably be gone in 5 or 10 years.

    3) Visit our absolutely unique wet markets – indoor ones (the one on Java Road in North Point is particularly good) or outdoor ones (Causeway Bay or Central or Wanchai) – a riot of colors, smells, sounds.

    4) Wong Tai Sin – the most beautiful (and also most crowded) temple in town

    5) The park at what used to be the infamous Kowloon Walled City

    6) Chung King Mansions – a tenement in the heart of town populated by residents from 130 different countries buying, selling, cooking, living.

    Looking forward to seeing your photos!

    Since someone else posted a link to Japan Camera Hunter’s (excellent) 3 part series on camera shopping in HK, may I humbly offer up my take on buying and selling used photo equipment in our humble SAR?


  • DP said on July 14, 2012

    Not sure if they still do it because it has been awhile since I have been there on a Sunday, but Victoria Park used to get PACKED on Sunday with all of the Filipina migrant workers on their day off. Used to be thousands of them there singing, playing games, selling wares, picnic’n, etc… Could hit it on the way up to the Peak. If you hit the Peak, do the loop trail. Nice stretch of the legs and a bit different from the hustle and bustle down below.

  • Steve said on July 14, 2012


    Wish I were there…

    For some entertainment:

    - Ned Kelley’s Last Stand (Kowloon), Pub with live music

    Must see: (additionally to the rest posted above)

    - Star Ferry between Kowloon and HK Island
    - Mid levels escalators
    - View from a rooftop bar


  • minor said on July 15, 2012

  • brent watson said on July 15, 2012

    i worked as a cruise ship photog about 7 years ago when we would dock in hong kong. unfortunately it was only for an afternoon and I was too afraid to eat anything that didn’t come wrapped in a package with a golden m. the city lights were amazing when we were sailing away and its interesting how every other store is a camera shop.

  • Caleb Benton said on July 16, 2012

    Hey Zack, I am in HK right now so let me throw in my $0.02:

    1) Don’t go to Wan Chai, I would go to Lan Kwai Fong instead for drinking, its basically the bourbon ST of HK.
    2) Eat in SOHO area, everything is amazing, two quick recommendations: a) Rico’s, I ate there last night, amazing spanish food, tapas, 2) Guru (Indian food) best I have ever had. anything in this area is good restaurant-wise, but its not got the “local” type cuisine if you are into that. Ive kinda been there, done that, love dim sum, and noodles, but after that………..

    3) Photo ops, go to Kowloon (Ave of champions, there is some amazing archetecure over there) check it out, and beautiful city scape at night.


  • Jason Howell said on July 16, 2012

  • Kevin Buchanan said on July 17, 2012

    Looking forward to seeing more from HK, Zack – been stuck around home for so long, so I live vicariously through photographers like yourself. :)

  • Stefan Frank said on July 17, 2012

    Hey Zack,
    short question. did it with the Fuji x1-pro or do you carried a dslr around?


  • Zack said on July 17, 2012

    @Stefan – x100

  • Kevin Lau said on July 18, 2012


    Since no one has mentioned street food, I would definitely recommend having some in Mong Kok:

    Try the stinky beancurd if you are brave enough! :) Enjoy HK!


  • Michael said on July 19, 2012

    Go to Tsim Sha Tsui. On Canton Road there is a restaurant called Chinese Kitchen…It’s good! Also you must eat in City Hall at Central for Dimsum.

  • Cali said on July 19, 2012

    Dude please look for BUTAO RAMEN. Its a small hole in d wall but worth the visit!
    Search for this online. People foreign n local line up for hours for this. Been featured in CNN for its amazing flavors!
    Every visit to HK its a MUST to have BUTAO!!!


  • Ich Will said on July 21, 2012

    Just watched your Pro photographer, cheap camera challenge. Just wow, seriously amazing results! I don’t care how many devices get cameras built in, I don’t care how many people use instagram – a talented photographer is worth his or her weight in gold and is extraordinarily rare and the video proves beyond a doubt that it is all to do with people skills and vision and nothing to do with the kit. Though the video also proves that decent kit is worth it’s weight in gold if you need reliability and convenience!

  • Jimi said on July 21, 2012

    Hi Zack, after you go to Kuala Lumpur why don’t you go to Jakarta?
    I’m your big BIG FANS from Jakarta, Indonesia.

    BR, Jimi

  • Kirk said on July 22, 2012

    Hey Zack, loved being able to chat with you briefly at the workshop – awesome stuff. One place I was going to recommend as much for being a sight unto itself as it is good for food, is “Chung King Mansion” which is a one minute walk from the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR (subway) station (3 stops from Mong Kok). It’s where a lot of Indian, Pakistani, African and other communities reside and do business when they make the move to HK. It’s not what you think of when you think HK, but is a total part of the fabric of immigrants trying to make it here. Think Irish / Italian / Asian immigrant communities in NYC all in one massive building.

  • Jaime said on July 22, 2012

    i just saw the vid you did with DRTV Zack…Bloody awesome…So now I have to go sell all my Canon gear and get that Kodak rig your were pimpin! :-0……Kai didn’t offer you a shoot with one of his regular models though(Kinki or Bambi?)

    Can’t wait to see you in KL next week master Arias!- I hope you’ll be free for a couple of brewskies brother!

  • don said on July 22, 2012

    Just saw you and Kai on the Digitalrev video too. Effing bloody awesome! And the pics. Wow!

  • don said on July 22, 2012

    Thought it was hilarious that Kai thought Zack’s X100 was a Leica. Haha! Love it.

  • Kuro said on July 22, 2012

    Amazing appearance on Digital Rev, Very inpired and lerned a lots from that show. Thanks for doing that.

  • Steve Fuller said on October 11, 2012

    Love the X100, HK is such a photographic place, would love to go back one day!

  • DonW said on March 4, 2013

    Hey Zack,
    I’m coming into this post late, but I have watched your blog and your work off and on over the last few years and really enjoy what you do. My wife and I went to Hong Kong back in 2010, and while looking at your post, I noticed how similar your take on one particular shot and mine were. I like yours better as you got the subject’s face in. Just a reminder of how small the world really is that we can both wind up with such a similar shot at what appears to be the same place, half way around the globe. I’m sure the odds say it happens all the time, but I still thought it was interesting.

    See this link for my take on that shot. http://don.photoshelter.com/image/I00008qXnzGzybdw

    There’s more from that trip at this link if you’re interested.http://don.photoshelter.com/gallery/Hong-Kong-2010/G0000tBIRfvrkHe8/

    Keep up the great work.


    p.s I’d love to go back to Hong Kong soon. It was one of my favorite trips ever.

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