Today is the ninth day of the Chinese New Year, which is sometimes called the Hokkien New Year here in Malaysia because it is the most significant day of the New Year calendar for Hokkiens.
Hokkiens – or Hoklos as they are known in some other countries – are people with ancestral roots in a region of Fujian province in southern China. During the Ming Dynasty, the Hokkien clan was attacked by Cantonese soldiers from neighbouring Guangdong province. Their homes were destroyed, and many were killed, but some survived by hiding in sugarcane fields. Eventually the Cantonese soldiers gave up looking for them, and the day they emerged from the sugarcane fields was the ninth day of Chinese New Year. Since then, Hokkiens have celebrated this day with prayers to the Jade Emperor (who is the Taoist God of Heaven in Chinese mythology) and making offerings of sticks of sugarcane tied together with red ribbons.
Last Saturday (the third day of the Chinese New Year) I dropped into the Thean Hou temple, which is just down the road from where I live. The temple takes its name from Thean Hou, the Buddhist Queen of Heaven, which is the main deity in the temple, but it also has some Taoists deities as well, and for that reason the Thean Hou temple is where local Hokkiens go to make offerings.
I went to the temple intending to grab a few pictures of the Chinese lanterns on display. I got my lantern shots (I’ve posted one in the Workshop here) but I also I found some more interesting subjects in the form of some performers from a Chinese opera group who were standing at the gates of the temple encouraging visitors to buy tickets for one of their performances (they were putting shows on in a small theatre under the temple).
I shot a picture of one of the performers who was smiling at me, and when I looked in the LCD I was pleased with the shot, thinking I could crop it into a vertical portrait making a feature of her colourfully decorated pigtails. But when I blew the shot up on my computer screen at home (I've posted the original to the Workshop here), I discovered there was a face right over her left shoulder (somebody who had walked behind) that completely spoiled the shot. So instead, I heavily cropped the shot down to this composition which is only 8 per cent of the original image area. For that reason, the image is a little soft (it was handheld at 1/60 at a focal length of 90mm) but I think the softness suits her porcelain-like skin - so I’m happy with it.
I don’t think the girl in my photograph is Hokkien. I believe she is from Hainan – at least that’s where the Chinese opera group was from – but I thought her nice smile was nevertheless an appropriate way to wish you all a happy Hokkien New Year.
Critiques | Translate
siolaw (38292) 2008-02-15 9:26
I see we re not too far (I'm in Bangkok) You caught a nice close up portrait of this smooth and white skin Chines ethnic girl.... Nice sparkling eyes and interesting head gear! DOF and exposure is fine.! Your note is informative too!
I m off to Cambodia in four days!
vincz (19113) 2008-02-16 2:41
What a great tight framing. I love the texture on her skin, she looks like a doll! Excellent colors. Great note. A very nice one.
cessy (13647) 2008-02-16 23:18
her smile very nice indeed, she is beautiful
very nice portrait of her. the colors are gorgeous, and the crop is perfect.
happy Hokkien new year :)
jhm (150726) 2008-02-17 0:43
I look to your WS and I find the "altered Image #1" very nice through the more generally and decoration of the girl.
But this portrait is absolutely wonderful as quality and sharpness, the eyes and the teeth are wonderful taken.
Thanks for sharing.
Have a nice sunday,
TGULUMSER (13252) 2008-02-17 6:25
This portrait is very beautiful and colorful,full of joy. Her eyes are full of hope and happiness. You reflected all of these feelings in your composition very well. I looked at your workshop, the views are all nice, and you are right it is better to crop the original shot of this girl. Thanks a lot for sharing without this master piece.
Best regards, have a nice week,
danos (96051) 2008-02-17 13:28
flawless the close up portrait of this Chinese girl with this superb, light make up face and the great smile.The brilliant eyes and the decoration of the head, make the shot fabulous. The sharpness and the clarity are unique. Informative your note too.
Have a nice week,Danos
plimrn (21344) 2008-02-18 23:10
I don't think the Passer-by ruins the WS photo, but I do find the tighter crop much more powerful than the mors classic portrait frame. I agree that the sharpness of this photo is just fine. The note is interesting and informative.
pboehringer (770) 2008-02-24 18:22
the skin softness isn't due to any cropping or the 1/60s at 90mm. It is her skin - smooooth like a peach! The perfect portrait to make any commercial for face lotion or the thing alike. I really think that it is just fine and enhances that porcelain feeling that you wrote in your note.
feather (51130) 2008-02-25 7:45
The quality of this image is amazing; even more so knowing the extent of the crop and the use of ISO 400. The blurred background is just right and the use of flash has provided the catch-lights in her eyes as well as sparkling off the beads on her head-dress. Good work.
Charo (51210) 2008-02-27 12:53
Excelente retrato de esta bella chica de piel de porcelana. Estupendos colores detalles y bonita sonrisa. Bien hecho.
edal (6804) 2008-02-27 23:47
Both the original and the crop are magnificent! Outstanding colors in a genuine surrounding. The model lady is a beauty with a lot of exotic air.
jafadabret (56501) 2008-03-01 10:31
David, cette photo fait plaisir à voir. Le portrait est très réussi et ce ton de porcelaine fait beaucoup pour la beauté de l'actrice. Le regard et le sourire sont encore un plus pour la beauté.
pablominto (53746) 2008-03-03 2:18
A lovely girl and an expressive portrait!
Good details and fine colours, a well composed presentation...
This beautiful girl may well be the symbol of the New Year!
faubry (35447) 2008-03-06 6:29
wonderful light on this nice face; beautiful smiling glance;; GREAT SHOT
AiresSantos (56155) 2008-03-19 1:03
Wonderful portrait with magnificent colours and nice crop.
I like your note and details
riclopes (35577) 2008-03-19 1:59
Olá David, as usual your note is very good and in spite of being long, I read all details with pleasure. It surprises me that the quality of this heavy crop still works well to post it and I agree that the softness suits well the porcelain-like skin. And also, I have to tell you that I like more this close approach than the original, even if the face behind wasn't there. She's more like a perfect doll than a real person and one gets stucked in these big shinning eyes and smile. Nice graphic picture with the lanterns.
batalay (38525) 2008-03-19 11:59
What a compelling portrait of the young woman, and you have located here in the frame just like a great portrait painter would: one of her eyes is squarely on the center line. The composition, colors and resolution are all flawless, and your note is first class, as usual, engaging and informative.
Fis2 (95483) 2008-03-28 13:40
Fantastic portrait! Good frame and super colors. Well done.
Greetings from Poland
paura (47186) 2008-03-28 17:12
Excellent portrait here. Very well composed with excellent colors and vivid details. Very well done!
jemaflor (95283) 2008-03-29 3:54
nice smile, good timing for a great portrait, lovely colours, very well taken.
claire526 (1267) 2008-04-06 14:33
Great portrait shot! Beautiful face and delicate skin. I love the details here and the colors. Great light and composition.
colinbrenchley (6431) 2008-04-13 15:07
Wonderful very colourful close up portrait achieved without distortion.
Floydian (30970) 2008-04-20 7:04
I was typing all the way how close you were here till i noticed it was a crop, so i can start over again ;-)
For me a portrait must be tack sharp in the face, unless you want to put some softness in it like a David Hamilton look. But here, the eyes and eyebrows are soft, but in a certain way that suits the image very well considering her extemely soft face. Hard sharpness on the eyes would spoil this, so only therefor i like this.
I wonder why you did not get closer or is it what a lot of people have....to shy to put a lens in someones face?
devimeuxbe (58557) 2008-04-23 11:50
This portrait is very nice. The light, the sharpness and the colors are great. And this smiling face is beautifull
axiotea (21651) 2008-07-26 20:44
I did not see your gallery since a while, which is plenty of interesting and great images!
a nice tight frame for this portrait who looks gorgeous!Love her shiny&black eyes, the texture of her skin which is similar to that of china and her colorful head gear. Good use as well of the fill flash.
Have a nice day
vinicio (23423) 2009-01-20 12:37
I reveal you a secret David, it's from at least 30 years that I've a photo like this attached to my table of work, a shoot of a young woman dressed like her and smiling to me, I don't know why but her presence is a peaceful addiction for my days, and I don't want to remove it.
So, compliments and thanks to have renoved in me her face here on the French country far from my table of work.
Glint (6171) 2009-01-25 3:44
despite your sever crop this is still a very good picture. As you say the softness fits with her china doll complexion. Lovely colours too.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-02-09
- Categories: Festivals
- Camera: Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/60 seconds
- Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): Blogger slideshow, Traditional Costumes of Asia [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2008-02-15 6:31
- Favorites: 1 [view]