Canadian Wanderer

Travel plans, thoughts & lessons

Month: January 2015

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

After what’s seemed like an eternity since it was booked my  Hong Kong Chinese New Year trip is fast approaching and so am reading up on this exciting cultural celebration. A few fast facts:

  •  Chinese New Year starts with the New moon on the first day of the first lunar month and ends on the Full moon 15 days later with the Lantern Festival
  • During the 15 day period new year visits  will be made to family and friends.  On the first day, the oldest and most senior members will be visited, the visits serve to strengthen family ties
  • The seventh day is known as ‘birthday of men’ or day of men or men day
  • dragon dances occur in the streets throughout the 15 day festival. The dragon is believed to bring prosperity and the longer the dragon the more luck it brings
  • I’ll be just one of an estimated 300,000 spectators taking in the spectacular fireworks display on 20th February, the second day of Spring Festival as it’s known in China
  • 2015 is the year of the goat
  • kung hei fat choi in Cantonese or in English bless happiness, and prosperity

New travel gadget: camera monopod

After considering a digital camera upgrade in recent months to better capture all the amazing scenery I encounter while travelling I’ve opted  instead to pack one more item in the form of a compact travel monopod to try and improve the quality of the pictures with my trusty little Canon camera.

The Canon Powershot S1-IS has performed well for me to date but doesn’t excel at low light or night shots because despite image stabilization camera it can’t compensate enough for camera shake while the shutter is open. One solution was to mount the camera on a tripod to eliminate this shake however as I travel light packing one of these three legged contraptions really isn’t practical but found that there were several inexpensive, lightweight and compact monopods that would offer better stability while being far more portable.

The model I chose is the Manfrotto Compact Monopod in basic black as it’s 39cm./15 in. long when closed but telescopes open to stand 145cm./4.75 ft. tall. There is a threaded screw at the top of the monopod that mates with the bottom of almost all digital and DSLR cameras plus a hand strap to help make sure the whole thing doesn’t easily fall over. While lightweight at 0.33 kg./0.75 lb. it doesn’t feel flimsy which had been a concern before receiving it.

For $30 with S&H from Futureshop it seemed a fairly low cost way to stabilize my travel photos, especially those skyline shots snapped after dusk as I plan to do while in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year on an upcoming trip.

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