A Photo Trip at Ping Che, The Border Village

A Photo Trip at Ping Che, The Border Village

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A Photo Trip at Ping Che, The Border Village

To visit Ping Che, you can either take the public transport or drive via Wo Keng Shan Road
The controversial North East New Territories Development Plan has made this place a hot topic in news coverage and grabbed our attention. Apart from being a place with high development potential and conservation value, the North East New Territories also offer rare scenery of grass field and natural landscape in Hong Kong, making it a good place for photography. This article will take us to Ping Che – a place with a large field of grass overlooking Shenzhen and is worth to explore and take pictures.

Ping Che in Fanling is very close to the border between Hong Kong and China. Away from the bustling city, this place offers a wide-open view with no high-rise building and most people here live in the village’s sheds. Visitors can take bus no. 79K at Shek Wu Hui Bus Terminus in Sheung Shui and get off at Ping Yuen Road, then follow the traffic road next to the grocery store. After passing Ping Yeung Village, you will see a pavilion. This is where we conducted the photo shoot this time.
Walk along the traffic road next to the grocery store
The entrance to Ping Yeung Village. Our destination is just across the village
There is a Village Office around the village exit area
The village exit area
The grass field is behind this pavilion
Behind the pavilion, there is a large field of golden tassel grass. Be reminded to wear long trousers if you go in to take photos to protect yourselves from mosquitoes, insects or being slashed.
A photo of the grass field behind the pavilion taken from a high angle
We can shoot with backlighting to capture the field of tassel grass in golden color. To deal with the high lighting contrast issue when shooting with a light source from behind the subject, apart from using HDR, we can also shoot in RAW format and increase the exposure compensation by 1 stop based on the exposure value obtained by metering on the bright area. In post-editing, increase the exposure level for the shadow area to achieve a nicely balanced photo with both details in the highlight and shadow areas retained.
Adjusting the while balance setting during shooting or post-editing can help you achieve golden color for the tassel grass
We can only capture tassel grass in golden color with a backlighting

Capturing Ping Che Grass Field – Using Exposure Bracketing

Besides, we can use the in-camera Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) function of EOS cameras to ensure photos with accurate exposure. With this function, the camera will take three images consecutively at different exposure values by adjusting the shutter speed or aperture automatically. Take EOS 6D as an example. Its AEB function can be set from the lowest 2/3 stops (i.e. -1/3→0→+1/3) to the highest 6 stops (i.e. -3→0→3).

We can go to the “Exposure Compensation/AEB” function setting page in the menu to set the AEB function. Some advanced DSLR models offer a “Q” button to do the setting.

Press the “Q” button (when you hold the camera with both hands, the “Q” button is usually reachable with your right hand thumb) and then use the cross keys to select “Exposure Compensation/AEB” (as shown in the photo below). Turn the back dial with your thumb to increase or decrease the exposure compensation. This is same as accessing the “Exposure Compensation/AEB” through the menu, just that the “Q” button offers you a quicker and more convenient way to do so.
Press the “Q” button and after entering the “Exposure Compensation/AEB” setting page, turn the back dial to adjust the exposure compensation

Turn the top dial next to the shutter release button with your index finger will allow you to change the AEB setting, e.g. -2/3, 0, +2/3. The three subsequent images taken will be using these three exposure compensation values.
Turn the top dial with your index finger to change the AEB setting. How far you turn the dial will determine the exposure bracketing range

At the AEB setting page, turn the back dial with your thumb to change the starting value for the exposure bracketing range. To return to the exposure compensation setting page, turn the top dial with your index finger until you reach the null point.
After entering the AEB setting page, turn the back dial to change the starting value for the exposure bracketing range

Overlooking the Wide-Open Landscape of Ping Che and Shenzhen

After we finish the shooting at the grass field, we can take the stone stairs to the top of a hill. From there, you can capture the Ping Che scenery from a high angle and overlook the mainland city at the opposite shore. You can also enjoy and take pictures of the sunset there.
The stone stairs to the top of a hill
A spectacular view overlooking Shenzhen in the distance
After the shooting is done, take the same route back to where you get off from the bus and take the same bus back to Sheung Shui. As there is no street lamp along the way that takes you back from the hill to the village, it’s recommended that you bring a torch with you. After you get back to the village where there is street lamp, simply follow the traffic road to exit.

Besides, you will definitely run into a dog in the village. The dogs in Ping Yeung Village are docile, though. As long as you do not look threatening, these dogs will do no harm to you. However, the dogs in the neighborhood villages may be fierce. If you wish to explore other areas around in Ping Che, please be careful and always go with company or ask the villagers to go with you.
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