Tales from the Road – Chinese Opera at Po Toi O

| September 20, 2010
Chinese opera at the Po Toi O fishing village

Chinese opera at the Po Toi O fishing village

The people sitting below the brightly lit sign in the shot above are watching Chinese opera in a bamboo tent! My friend Alex, who has lived in Hong Kong since childhood said that the community of the Po Toi O hosted the production. Po Toi O is a small fishing village at the southern edge of the Clear Water Bay Peninsula in Sai Kung, Hong Kong. The village, which has a number of very authentic and popular seafood restaurants,  is situated at a bay shaped like a sack, thus earning its name Po Toi (meaning a sack). And, according to Wikipedia, everyone living in the village has the name ” Po” for their surname.  I feel like the shot above does a pretty good job of capturing the essence of what I experienced as I approached the opera on my way to have dinner with Donna, Alex and his friend James.

Chinese Opera at the Po Toi O Chen fishing village

Chinese Opera at the Po Toi O Chen fishing village

As we made our way through the venue, I fired off a few shots of the opera in progress. Because the lighting was so extreme (dark in the audience and really bright on stage), I decided to underexpose the shot by a full exposure value to make sure the stage would not get blown out. The problem was, however, that the audience would then be too dark to recognize. This is where shooting in Camera RAW format shines. The RAW editor in Apple Aperture’s photo management application allowed me to bring out the detail in the shadow while pulling back the brightness of the stage so you can see interesting detail across the entire image. The RAW format holds much more information in each pixel that can be brought to life with a RAW editor. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom have RAW image editors built in as well.

Regarding dinner, Alex told us to be prepared for messy Chinese food that night. I have to admit that nothing could have prepared me for what I saw once we got there. It was like opening my eyes to a completely new experience. I felt like a kid going to Disneyland for the first time so to speak. As for the details of dinner, you will have to check back for another bog post for them. It was definitely a blog-worthy experience all by itself!

As a final tidbit, we got out of Hong Kong today just before typhoon Fanapi showed up. It hit Guangdong earlier and was scheduled to make landfall at 5pm Hong Kong time. Fortunately, we took off at 3:18pm just as it was beginning to rain. There was talk of the storm being upgraded to a category three as we left. Alex said that kids stay home from school at level three and people don’t go to work at level five. On the flip-side, the weather outlook for Beijing looks great this week. That is pretty awesome!

Also, it appears that A Day Not Wasted is being blocked by China’s internet filters. My browser just spins and eventually times out. So, I had to resort to using a remote login application to write this post through a computer in the good old USA. Where there is a will there is a way!

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Category: Photography, Travel