Buddha Tooth Relic Temple on Chinese New Year’s Eve

A contrast of tradition and modern elements

I know Chinese New Year is over, but just to recap one of my personal shoots I did on the eve. Knowing that the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple has a lightup of the entire building only on Chinese New Year’s Eve, I went there during sunset to wait for the golden hour when most of the people were having their reunion dinner. Yup I had mine too :)


Since the golden hour only lasts for a short while, I planned the shoot in my head while travelling to the destination. I wanted a standard head on shot. The key point was the timing and colour of the sky to balance the brightness of the sky after sunset and the lighting from the building exterior.

But it was not meant to be. I reached the temple and expected to setup my equipment, click some shutters and call it a day, but the never-ending flow of passersby kept everything from going smooth. The most frustrating thing was a man (presumably drunk) who stood at the entrance and was enjoying all the attention that people who wanted to take photos of the temple were giving him.

With my equipment ready to fire, I was just anticipating for the brief moment when this man would move out of my viewfinder’s view. Of course that didn’t happen. Instead, he started singing some tragic love song…

With the golden hour soon to be over, I reluctantly shifted my lens to a different angle and fired some shots. Only until it was pitch black did the man leave the scene.

The main photo above was one of the successful ones. Below is a comparison of one taken during the golden hour and one with the sun totally gone down. And before anyone asks, no HDR processing was done, just captured directly in-camera. Which one do you prefer?



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