Ceddy's Random

Ceddy's Random - Vlogs

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

 Hong Kong- Concrete Jungle and Asia's Finest

I have no plans to visit Hong Kong as I want to travel to the United Kingdom. However, due to visa rejection, I am not able to fulfill my dream to visit the UK. My sister in the UK suggested Hong Kong but I was not planning to go there, for some reason, My other sister in Hong Kong reached out to Me and offered to explore Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was colonized by Britain for almost 156 years. Its glory from the past such as old structures tourist spots, temples, and all were still in good shape and highly maintained. Double-decker buses and MTR ( their subway system ) are the choice of transportation for commuters. And of course, I tried all of them and it was such an experience.

The picture above: The Peninsula Hotel built in 1928 



The picture above: The Chi Lin Nunnery: A large Buddhist temple complex located in Diamond Hill

The picture above: With my Sister at Hong Kong International Airport

It happened to be that my Sister is also a resident of Hong Kong. So She offered me to visit her since we haven't seen each other for the past 25 years. A brief background about myself. My mom is half-Chinese and half-Filipino, whereas my sister is married to a Hong Kong citizen and has been living in Hong Kong for more than 21 years. And the best part? Philippine passport holders can stay in Hong Kong for 14 days visa-free.


The picture above: Gloomy Weather at Tsim Sha Tsui 


The picture above Chilly Early Morning at Sai Kung, Hong Kong



The picture above Waiting for the golden hour at Fuk Man Garden at Sai Kung, Hong Kong

The picture above: Just a normal day in the countryside of Sai Kung



The picture above: Locals of Hong Kong on their daily life



Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate with dry winters, so to give you an idea, it's the same weather during the summers in the UAE or in the Philippines. I went there last October of 2023. The temperature in the city center ranges from 36 to 38 degrees Celsius and the humidity is paramount. I have to bring an extra T-shirt since I'm sweating a lot. compared to Sai Kung ( located in the eastern coastal area of new territories. My sister resides.) Where the temperature goes down to 20 degrees and it's quite chilly since it's situated below the mountain and waterfront with a luscious water canal coming from the mountain. It is a sight to see and relaxing especially early in the morning. 



Pictures above: Food trippin' at Mong Kok


The most sought-after go-to place for food is Mong Kok. I went to Mong Kok several times and I deeply fell in love with the food choices there. Fresh chow mein noodles, roasted pecking duck, Japanese cuisine, and assorted street foods. It was heaven! I'm not a picky eater so I tried everything as much as I could. One thing that I noticed there is that some local sellers are impatient, I guess maybe because of the language constraint. Good thing that Google Translate is handy. 



The picture above: Chi Lin Nunnery Temple


When it comes to free tourist spots, one thing that I highly recommend is to see the Chi Lin Nunnery located in Diamond Hill. Free entrance, and dressing appropriately are needed since it is a sacred temple. It's a retreat for Buddhist Nuns. The camera is forbidden inside the temple. 

Pictures above: At The Peak


I went to Victoria Peak riding via the famous tram, sounds classy right? Riding in the tram is such a surreal experience, the higher the tram reaches the peak, you get the chance to see the entire skyline of the city. The exhilarating view at the peak took my breath away. It's surreal. 




Pictures above: Hong Kong Monetary Authority



The next place to visit for free is the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Located in Two IFC towers next to the pier where you can ride a ferry going to TST. Hong Kong Monetary Authority is Hong Kong's central banking institution. I got the chance to learn about the country's monetary history and showcase the country's trading notes and coins. 

Up next is the Tsim Sha Tsui, (some residents would abbreviate it to TST, it's a mouthful to say so they put it that way) situated in the Kowloon district a shopping and nightlife heaven for everyone. It's where the Victoria Harbour is also located. If you want to experience and appreciate the Hong Kong skyline view, this is the place you should not miss. And best of all, it's free. However, you need to cross to reach Victoria Harbour via ferry at Wan Chai Pier or Central 7 Pier. 





Pictures above: Tsim Sha Tsui


I got to experience the local seafood of Sai Kung. I mentioned that it's situated on the waterfront. It is mainly dubbed as the back garden of Hong Kong since most of the locals there work at the coast. The local restaurant sells seafood. When I say seafood, anything that the ocean can offer and will bring to the table. Fresh seafood that you can imagine. I cannot eat crustaceans since I am allergic to them. But it came to the point where I wanted to try their Lobsters. But, thanks but no thanks. Lol.

Pictures above: All about Sai Kung

Pictures above: Lady's Night Market


Ladies Night Market is the best place to buy your souvenirs such as graphic tees or key chains, located in the Kowloon district of Mong Kok. Most of the items can be sold here however, there's a focus on selling ladies' clothes and accessories. Locals selling their products here were able to adapt to other foreigners' second tongue. To my surprise, they can even speak Tagalog (the basics related to selling goods) 

I stayed in Hong Kong for 14 days and I saved the best for last. The Hong Kong Disneyland.

Pictures above: Hong Kong Disneyland


My inner child of 5 years old was thrilled while seeing for the very first time the entrance of Disneyland. I got teary-eyed a bit. Trying all the rides as much as I could and watching the Disney Parade and one of the highlights of my visit-the Disney Fireworks. It was spectacular. A sight to hold, truly, it is the happiest place on earth. 

Here are some tips that I highly recommend if Hong Kong is on your bucket list:

  • Purchase a data sim. I am using two phones so I use the data sim in my 5G portable hotspot.
  • Bring a power bank. As per checking with Singapore Airlines before I travel, the max mAh allowed for a power bank is 10,000 mAh (milliamperes) 
  • Download offline maps. Google Maps to be exact.
  • Purchase an Octopus Card upon arrival at the airport. Octopus is a card that can be reloaded using your Mastercard or Visa card and cash. You can use this card to purchase any goods from small merchants or even McDonald's. If you are running out of balance in your Octopus card, you can top up at any 7/11 or the MTR.
  • Ensure that you have cash all the time as most small merchants, especially in Mong Kok prefer cash. 
  • Last. Seize the moment!

It was a fun and memorable experience. 

That's a wrap. Thanks for reading my blog.




Monday, September 4, 2023

Rokinon 85M-E 85 mm F1.4 Fixed Lens - Is it worth to buy?

Technology One Leap Ahead...

As the technology moves forward, the photography industry is also innovating, offering a wide variety of smartphones that provide unique advanced optics.

3 of the big smartphone manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are on the rise and filling the gap that traditional cameras can offer.

However, that doesn't stop the third-party lenses for mirrorless and DSLR cameras from offering such incredible lenses. 

Trying the Alternative...

I am always using the camera of my iPhone, from on-the-spot usage to travel vlogging, it is very convenient and easy to carry, not to mention its discreet size.

On the other side, I have a Sony Alpha A6100 as well which is perfect for vlogging and taking still shots. But I rarely use it, the disadvantage is that it is bulky, and it's not handy if you use it for a period of time. 
However, one thing that I love about this camera even if it is not a full-frame sensor (cropped sensor only) is that you can change the lens and use another e-mount lens. 

I wanted to step up my photography skills and take more portrait shots (although the iPhone takes good nice portrait shots) Still the results of using advanced ONLY optics are much better.

Purchasing Decision Matters...

After researching, I decided to purchase a manual f1.4 lens. A brand that is excellent in this field is no other than Rokinon- A South Korean Brand. 

In order for me to get that stunning portrait shot with a crisp blurry background. I chose the f1.4 lens. Compared to the kit lens from Sony, which is f3.5 (ideal for normal use). The f1.4 Rokinon with a range of 85mm lens is outstanding. Although it takes time for me to adjust to manual focus, it is pretty easy to control the focus and the depth of field. 

The standard kit lens of my Sony camera has a built-in stabilizer and autofocus, so derived from its name, it is easy for me to take still shots as it automatically chooses the object. Unlike the Rokinon which is manual focus, it took me a few seconds to adjust and focus on the subject.

Sony Standard f3.5 kit lens (left) and Rokinon f1.4 85mm lens (right)

Here are some sample photos taken using the Rokinon Lens

All Images are raw files and enhanced via Adobe Lightroom

The Cons of the Rokinon Lens...

This is not ideal for sports portrait shots as this lens is exclusive only for portrait still shots. 

When it comes to portability, this is where my standard kit lens from Sony wins. It is small, compact, and lightweight. Compared to Rokinon. This lens is a beast, and heavy too!

Pros as well...

Regardless of its downside for portability, the price of the Rokinon lens is way more affordable compared to its competitors. I purchased it on Amazon for only 524 AED or about 143 USD.

So, the verdict. 

Do I recommend this lens?

Yes! if you prefer still shots and a crisp blurry background it is budget-friendly. 

Thanks for reading my blog and I'll see you again next time!