Blame it on the virus

If like me you happen to live in China or somewhere in Asia, there is no way you can distract yourself from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

As numbers are escalating – and today I woke up with the news that infected cases had already surpassed those from SARS – my hometown Macau, and China as a whole, is embracing for this upcoming crisis. Which, according to specialists, has yet to reach its peak.

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Fuji GFX 50R with Fuji GF 63mm f/2.8. Shot at 1/60, f/2.8, ISO 100. Post-processed to taste.

Macau’s economy relies on gaming and our customers come primarily from mainland China. Lots of them. In year 2019 alone we recorded 39.4 million visitors.

If you are not sure what this number means, let me help you with some data from 2018. Portugal: 12.8 million; Germany: 37.4 million; England: 37.9 million. Unbelievable, right?

As a local, I’d long accepted that festivities like the Chinese New Year are bound to attract massive loads of visitors coming from the mainland. Streets, shops and restaurants will be jam packed accordingly. Tourist attractions and their surroundings will resemble a football stadium on a derby day.

Downtown Macau becomes a place not for us locals, unless you enjoy being squeezed and having no space to breathe.

This year though… The reason? Blame it on the virus.

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Fuji GFX 50R with Laowa 17mm f/4. Shot at 20s, f/32, ISO 100. Post-processed to taste.

According to official sources, visitor numbers dropped by approximately 60% as of last year. However, some private analysts produce a darker estimate: 80% down.

Irrespective. It’s a fact that these days streets are empty. But how empty?

Well, not as empty as my photo above would suggest.

Measuring Light is about photography and this post is no exception. The photo above is a long exposure that made people and moving objects disappear from the image. It’s a simple yet effective technique.

In reality, this is what the scene looked like, as captured by my iPhone:

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As you can see, there were some people around. I was hardly the only person there.

Making people disappear from the photo was just a case of steadying the camera on a tripod and then take a long exposure. Specifically in this case, a 20 second long exposure. And yes, to put myself in, I had to stand still for 20 seconds.

Another example below, just for the fun of it. This time it was a 50 second exposure.

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Fuji GFX 50R with Laowa 17mm f/4. Shot at 50s, f/32, ISO 100. Post-processed to taste.

Why am I posting this, you ask?

Well, I could write a page long philosophical bullshit on the subject of the common misconception that photography represents reality with authenticity, the origins of said misconception a result of the transition from Realism and Naturalism painting to Photography as soon as it became available in the 19th century.

But I’m not into this today.

I’m posting this just for fun and because I’m locked at home, not going anywhere with this virus shit out there. I’m worried and not in the mood.

And let’s just say that, as the coronavirus crisis evolves, we need be aware of stupid rumours and fake news. Check all sources and make sure those are official or legit before you start believing in what you are reading. Use a bit of common sense. And that applies to whatever photo that’s posted in social media as well – mine included.

Blame it on the virus

I’m supposed to be out testing the Fuji GF 50mm f/3.5, but with the current atmosphere (no pun intended…) I’m staying home instead. So definitely these days I’m unable to test the lens for street photography because I’m avoiding any sort of interaction with the people I find in the streets. I’m not getting close to any stranger and that means keeping a 2 to 3 meter safe distance. No joke.

And God bless us. We are experts in gaming and the House always wins. Macau always wins. We survived the Dutch invasion, we survived SARS, we survived Hato. We are stronger than this. Let’s hope this thing ends quickly.

Wuhan jiayou. Aomen jiayou.

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