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Ginger Man

Don Ellis

I took this first photo perhaps six years ago. This gentleman sells ginger flowers (or
something similar -- don't hold me to botany) for about US2.50 for two little packets of
very strong-smelling flowers. It is a custom that keeps him from begging -- offering you
something in return for your money.

This photo was one of about a dozen and the timing was just right -- it's the shot I was
going for but I was surprised to actually get it. Those who have visited my website may
have seen him before because I'm just pulling this photo over as an introduction to the
shot below it...

This evening I found him again in front of Sogo -- a 10-story Japanese department store
in Causeway Bay -- just across from one of the busiest intersections in Hong Kong, which
is saying something...

No great story here... just a slice of local life. He still looks as well-groomed as ever
and I bought some flowers from him and exchanged a few words. I didn't see anyone else
buy anything, as you can see from his basket.

This was taken with a 5D and an 85/1.8 at 1.8 (which is why I put that compact camera
shot first -- how sneaky is that?).

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New member
Don, two terrific shots: The first one captures the spur of the moment better, but without looting at the exif data, I could easily say that the second was shot with a larger sensor. Which somehow reminds me of my ongoing wrestle with the Foveon sensor; DP1 versus SD14.
I hope to post some new shots here soon to raise this debate from its ashes. Thank you for sharing.

Richard Franiec

Wonderful story with the pictures to match.
I think, the first shot has more to it than just lucky overlay of airplane passing the full moon. Actually, the fascination in the eyes of the billboard girl, compliments intensity of the stark expression on the man's face. A very powerful contrast, in my mind, brilliantly frozen in time and captured.

Second picture is more disturbing but equally powerful with great rendition of the moment. As usual, in your case, the class shows in this sentence: "I bought some flowers from him and exchanged a few words. I didn't see anyone else
buy anything, as you can see from his basket."
(Street) photography can be seen as well as felt and the later is so much more difficult to achieve than first. Well done, Don


D upton-Hackett.

If i may agree with Richard.
This is something i strive for but never seen to get it quite right.


New member
Don - as always you capture terrific shots accompanied by a compelling narrative. The fact that these were taken several years apart confirms that your touch is no fluke.
Well done.

Don Ellis

Well, I turn my back for a day and people start talking behind it. Since they're friends,
however, they say such nice things. Thank you, gentlemen -- you're very kind.

I happened to go back to Sogo this evening -- they have the best french bread in town at
DonQ Bakery in Basement 2 (I said Sogo was 10 stories high but I forgot about the two
basement levels) -- and our flower man was there again. It's Friday evening here and the
Sogo crosswalk was busier than ever and his business had picked up. I saw four people
buy flower packets from him in the few minutes I was shooting, and then I joined in.

I didn't go entirely unnoticed, as you can see, but he gave me a warm smile when I
approached him. One of the nicest things about Cantonese people is that they are
universally happy to hear you speak their language, no matter how inept you might be.

Leela reminded me to tell you that people buy these flowers for their altars at home --
and now that we're nearing Mid-Autumn Festival (22 September), I think the spirit of the
season is making everyone even more thoughtful. There is simply no nicer time in Hong
Kong. People are happy, generous and especially kind, even letting you go first on the
subway. Everyone but me is eating mooncakes -- lotus-seed-paste confections with egg
yolks in the center -- (although I see that Haagen-Dazs and Mrs. Field's are producing
their own variations that have a toothsome appeal). And finally, as a bonus, the weather
nearly always turns cooler the very next day after festival day.