Hong Kong Island from Kowloon

Hong Kong at Night in Black & White

Black and White, China, Photo Essay

WE ARE IN HONG KONG! We kept saying as we walked down the streets while navigating the throngs of people and looking up at the towering skyscrapers.

Hong Kong, one of the great cities of the world, would be exciting to visit no matter the circumstances. But after spending a month on the sleepy islands of Sulawesi and Flores, it was a major shock to the senses. One day, you are on a bus that takes seven hours to go 45 miles, the next you are in hyper-efficient Hong Kong where subways, buses and trams run with the precision of a fine watch. One day, you are watching a buffalo get sacrificed as part of an ancient tradition, the next you are in one of the modern business capitals of the world.

We loved Hong Kong, especially at night when the city seemed to really come alive. Below are a collection of photos taken after dark.

Hong Kong City Views at Night Hong Kong Victoria Peak Black White

The classic view of Hong Kong at night from Victoria Peak. Although a crowded metropolis, nature in the form of green mountains and sandy beaches are right on the doorstep.

Kowloon from Victoria Peak in Black and WhiteThe setting sun glinting off the International Commerce Center, the tallest building in Hong Kong.

Hong International Commerce center in black and whitePollution, haze and the setting sun conspire to make a cool effect on the International Commerce Center.

Hong Kong Sound and Light showPeople watching the sound and light show.

Hong Kong Island from KowloonThe spectacular city view of Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon promenade.

Hong Kong at night in black and white

Christmas lights adorn the skyscrapers in Hong Kong.

Classic Kowloon black and whiteThis is the classic Hong Kong from the movies.

The People of Hong Kong in Black and White

Even though seeing the sweeping city-scapes was very exciting, street life in Hong Kong is vibrant and interesting. We stayed on Shanghai street (which we later learned was in the heart of the red light district) and spent our evenings eating and wandering around the Temple Street Night Market area. People watching was a fun, free activity. There were other “fun” activities going on around us, but they were not free.

Kowloon street foodEasily my favorite part of Hong Kong was the food. Eating on the street was cheap, easy and the food was always fresh and interesting.

Kowloon offeringA woman leaving an offering of food and beer for the spirits. She is getting the gods a little drunk.

Hong Kong men at nightTwo men solving all the problems of the world.

Pensive shop keeper A pensive shopkeeper.

Kowloon street food

People eating at one of the many outside street cafes.

Hong Kong Fortune tellerFortune teller on Temple Street. I wonder if he is giving good or bad news?

Herbal medicine store kowloonA bored shopkeeper on his iPhone.

Kowloon at night

A classic city scene in Kowloon.

Baby in KowloonThe baby is nearly bigger than her momma!Hong Kong Lady with umbrellaChecking messages while waiting in the rain for the bus. I dodged people all over Hong Kong walking down the street, crossing the road or going down stairs with eyes glued to the phone.

Man in Kowloon

Have you been to Hong Kong? 

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Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~ planetbell1@gmail.com

28 thoughts on “Hong Kong at Night in Black & White”

  1. Beautiful shots! I had no idea Hung Kong is this beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I would love to visit Hong Kong! I recently read a series of books that were set there, which has really inspired me to visit one day.
    I do have a rather funny story about Hong Kong, though, from when I was in high school. One of my friends was going to Hong Kong with her dad (who was going on a business trip). She asked another of my friends, who was originally from Hong Kong, what type of fun things there were to do there. My Hong Kong-ese (I don’t know the correct adjective!) friend immediately replied “Shopping.” “Anything else?” “Ummm… No, just shopping.”
    I’m sure there is much more to Hong Kong than that though!

  3. I would be in visual overload! Love the street photography. One thing I noticed is that many of the shots are of people in thoughtful/pensive moods, such a contrast to the happy people of the islands.

    • Laura, good point about the moods of the people. City life has a way of wiping our smiles away 🙂 Although people in Hong Kong are polite and nice, it wasn’t the same as the islands. Being surrounded by 7 million people changes the dynamic a bit.

  4. Why do you choose to shoot it in B+W while I think Hong Kong is more beautiful when you expose the colour, especially the night shot with colourful light and street signage?

  5. Jeff, I loved the shots of people in B&W – to me their faces and their bodies stood out more because of that effect. Reading your line about other “fun” activities in the neighbourhood made me laugh. I have to say that the area you and Kristi stayed in really feels like the Hong Kong of the movies – you can just imagine tattooed triad members running down the street, blowing up cop cars and shooting at policemen. Not that it would happen in real life of course…

  6. Great set of photos Jeff. I’ve been to HK for 6 weeks, in 1978 I think it was. A very different place. Aircraft still landed between high-rises, and thousands still lived on junks at Aberdeen. It was a magical time for me. I loved it. I’ve been very briefly since, and would like to go back and explore more with James’ help 🙂

    • Alison, I can only imagine how different the city was then. It is sad that things change so fast nowadays, at least from our perspective as outsiders. I am sure the people appreciate the changes and benefits. That old airport must have been intense, landing right in the city.

  7. Kat says:

    He didn’t look too happy in the last photo! Great photos, enjoyed reading your captions 🙂

  8. Hi Jeff – I started leaving a comment before ebut had to leave – but now I am back! my fav of this post from HK – besides the skyline opener – is the pensive shopkeeper – ! but I also love all of the feel phone shots = different moods in each one, yet ubiquitous experience these days – glued to our computer phones – lol. And then coming back the guy wearing the gap sweatshirt and the nike sneakers kept pulling me – I agree the babe in arms is cool – but the cultural feel of the entire shot is rich. I also recall many years ago when the Gap here in the States were selling those sweatshirts – they still might, but I remember when they were really “in” and my niece had one – etc.

  9. I’ve been to HK before, mostly for shopping and then realise that I will have to return because I missed out on other interesting parts..I was only there for a short time though and HK has always been one of Singapore’s popular destinations because it has shopping and food…haha…:)

  10. I’m a true fan of B&W photography, and I think you did a great job with it for these photos. The night shots of people are interesting–the ISO must have been pretty high? Or all the lights made it bright. I’m guessing you didn’t use flash on the people or we’d have heard a tale of your running away from an angry model?? I’ve been to HK numerous times, but not for over 20 years. I once crossed into Shenzhen when it was very new, still being built, and I didn’t see one sign in the English language, and met only one person who spoke English.

  11. A great photo tour of Hong Kong…you are a true street photographer and captured some great shots of people going about their lives. Did you ever ask permission or have anyone object?

    • Sometimes I ask permission, sometimes I don’t. Usually people don’t notice or don’t mind. If they see me taking their photo, I always smile. I can’t think of a time when someone got angry with me.

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