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“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone”…

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

“C’mon Mum, can you just put the camera away for two seconds, or we won’t nab a table outside” my son yells back over his shoulder, sounding annoyed.

As usual, I was lagging behind. Ask any member of my family about going out with me for the day and they’ll undoubtedly roll their eyes and say they just leave me behind to my own devices – chances are I’ll end up a little lost, but I’ll find my way back to them eventually.

Amongst my thousands of photos, I have many “Can you just put the camera away” moments that always make me smile. These memories are much more precious to me than anything money could ever buy. I recall many a time using the line “One day you’ll thank me for these, when that’s all you have to remember this day by" as I urge them to just hurry up and smile so we can be on our merry way.

“Yes, Yes, I’m coming” I reply, distracted by the beams of sunlight streaming through the concrete alleyway. The rays were creating the most beautiful golden hues and shadows as they reflected from the glass skyscrapers and danced across the choppy waters of Victoria Harbour.

My son had kindly taken me out for the day on another sightseeing adventure in the vibrant city of Hong Kong and we had decided to finish the afternoon by taking in the sights of the new Harbourside Boardwalk in Tsim Sha Tsui, a busy and picturesque part of Hong Hong.

Many fond memories of sightseeing and bar hopping –( yes, my son has taught me that very fine art) come to mind as I am writing this, and I can proudly name a few very nice roof top bars if you should ever pay a visit to this vibrant, bustling city.

I yell out to my son “ Go ahead and grab us a table, and I’ll catch up”, as the opportunity to capture some beautiful sunset moments was just too great to miss. After hurriedly snapping as many shots as I can, I continue through the hustle and bustle of the weekend crowd

towards the boardwalk. As I round the corner , I’m once again distracted - this time by a beautiful bronze statue of a lady, her face skyward , with one arm outstretched above her head, holding a lamp. The Harbour and moody sky backdrop create a photographer's dream, and I wait my turn for people to move on so I can quickly take a few more breathtaking sunset shots.

Picking up the pace , I continue along the boardwalk and arrive at a row of eateries and bars lining the boardwalk. I spot my son waving to me from a barstool, outside a pub on the corner, clearly proud of himself for nabbing a waterfront table at such a busy time of the day, and I have to admit, I'm impressed, as finding a seat is a real skill in this overpopulated city – especially one with a good view.

“Aww well done my boy” I tell my son thankfully, as I plonk myself down on the bar stool, legs aching after a full day of sightseeing. “This is so beautiful, you’ve found us the perfect seat” I gush, taking in the view of the harbour and the Sunday sightseers strolling by. “I knew you’d like it Mum” he smiles proudly and offers to head inside to buy us a drink and some snacks.

As I’m waiting, I spot the bright red sails of a Junk boat heading towards us from across the harbour. These iconic boats look even more beautiful at sunset. When the sun slowly sinks

and the lights turn on, their sails light up beautifully like a Chinese lantern, bobbing gently up and down on the ocean. You can imagine just for a moment what it must have looked like back in time, when Hong Kong was a vibrant fishing village, and not the bustling business hub it is today.

I anxiously wait for my son to return so he can mind our seats and I can head over to take some pics of the Junkboats before they take off again.

He returns in time and I quickly dash over and find a spot free along the railing with the rest of the crowd to take some pics as the junk boat is pulling in to port to drop off and pick up more passengers.

When I return to my seat my son and I toast to the end of a wonderful day spent together, and settle in to watch the sunset while we enjoy our ‘Happy Hour’ treats. However, our peaceful

afternoon is rudely interrupted by a loud ‘beep, beep, beeping sound’. You know - similar to the sound of a moving crane? Well, that’s exactly what it was!. A work crane had been set up behind us, that wasn’t in motion when we had first taken our seats, and now all of a sudden it had been brought to life and was in full swing! The crane driver then proceeded to unceremoniously elevate the workers up and down on the enclosed platform in order to clean the windows directly above us.

I kid you not, this crane was loud, we had to yell to each other to be heard, and it didn’t seem as though the workers were moving on anytime soon. However, we were too tired to be bothered searching for a seat somewhere else as the bars were all full at this popular time of the day.

“What the hell?” I yell to my son, trying to be heard above the noise. My son just looks at me and I look back at him in surprise “Probably why these seats weren’t taken” he yells above the noise with a smirk , and we both break out in fits of laughter at the irony of it all. He then grabs his phone to record a few of our “blissful moments' on video to share with the rest of the family, and takes a few happy snaps of us enjoying our time at the popular Waterfront Bar- annoying crane included! - I've taught him well, I think proudly to myself.

Thankfully (after what seemed like the longest 20 minutes ever) the workers packed up, backed the crane out, and drove away, and we were able to enjoy the rest of our ' Happy Hour' afternoon on the boardwalk in peace.

This is just one special memory that popped up for me today from the thousands of pics I’ve taken over the years of travelling back and forth to Hong Kong to visit our children, and I’m so grateful for the abundance of them, especially now that Covid has taken away our freedom of travel. I am also thankful for having shared some of them on my social media pages, as they continually pop up as a happy reminder of the special times we have had together as a family, and they give me hope to look forward to the time we can see them again.

You could say photos have literally been my saving grace over the last eighteen months of not being able to physically be together as a family, and I am so thankful that I stopped and took the time to capture them.

Memories have a way of fading over time, and it can often be hard to remember all of the special moments and places we've visited. However, pull out a photo, and you have a golden ticket to a moment and place that will be forever suspended in time.

A photo can awaken lots of wonderful memories. They also have a way of rekindling the senses. I always associate the smell of egg waffles, noodles, and other mysterious street food aromas to the overcrowded streets of Mongkok. When I browse through the pics I've taken there, I'm instantly transported to this colourful, most densely populated place on earth by the sense of smell alone. Mongkok means 'busy corner' in Cantonese, and its a 'must see' if you wish to experience a part of the 'old' Hong Kong.

Photos are, of course, also a great way for us to us to relive and share our stories with loved ones and future generations, so they won't be forgotten, so even more the reason to capture the moments.

Are you a keen photographer?

Owning a phone makes it so simple these days, and there’s so many fun apps to help us make our photos even more picture perfect? If so, how do you store your memories? I love to have as many of my favorite pics placed around the house as possible, so I can relive and feel all those special moments on a daily basis, as they always make me smile. I also like to put together photo books to store my favorite pics. Do any of you still do things the old fashioned way, and store them in albums? I still have many of these albums and even though the pictures are often out of focus and faded, they're amongst my favorite, as they're from a time when photography was quite expensive, and not so readily available to everyone.

Or is scrapbooking a favorite way to store favorite memories? I remember when my kids were young, this was such a popular way to display photos - a beautiful artform in itself, that brought many people together socially as they chatted and added precious photos to their albums. Or do you simply store them away in photo boxes?

I can say I do all of the above,( apart from the scrapbooking) although I think one day I would love to give this a try, it’s such a beautiful way to store happy memories.

As you know, I'm a mad keen photographer, and Instagram is one of my favourite places to share that passion. If you would like to drop by and check out my gallery and say Hi, please click on the Instagram tab on the home page.

And of course, feel free to send me an email with any thoughts or questions.

Before I go, I will let you in on a little secret : I have (to date) 79,069 photos stored on my phone – and that’s just the “recent” album!! If you can top that, please let me know, as I’ll be most impressed, and won’t feel quite so obsessed, ha ha!

Keep on smiling and clicking away, as you can never take too many ‘happy snaps’ to revisit with your golden ticket back in time.

Warmest wishes,

Kim-Annette xx

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