The night skies of Hong Kong may be rife with smog and light pollution, but undaunted astronomy photographers are still finding ways to snap captivating shots of the stars above us.
Mew Chu is one such photographer. A computer animator and toy designer, Chu also dedicates himself to stargazing and photography, and for the last several years his high definition images of Hong Kong’s skyscapes have captivated eyes and won the artist tremendous praise on the internet.
After becoming fascinated with stargazing as a youth, Chu began formally studying photography in 1998. These studies kickstarted a passion, and Chu soon began using photo equipment to capture high definition images and time lapse videos of Hong Kong’s skies, filming in a variety of areas across the city, including Clearwater Bay, San Po Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui and Tung Ping Chau.
“Photography is not simply the act of just pressing a shutter,” Chu said of his passion in an April interview with photography website DCFever . “Rather, it’s a form of intent and expression.”
Several of Chu’s most impressive shots, such as his “Sky and I” series, were taken with relatively affordable digital cameras – such as the Canon EOS 60D - which are aimed at amateur photography enthusiasts.
For many of his pictures, Chu uses telephoto zoom lenses that enable him to capture the elusive movements of stars, solar eclipses and constellations in greater detail.
Chu’s astronomy shots have been featured in the Hong Kong Space Museum, and the photographer has lent his knowledge of the city's skies to a 2008 light pollution research project at the University of Hong Kong.
Currently teaching a creative photography course sponsored by the Photographic Society of Hong Kong, Chu hopes to promote both his art and a general awareness of the beauty of Hong Kong's skies - as well as the need to protect them from the city's notorious light pollution.
"Most Hong Kong people didn't pay much attention to natural ecological issues until video cameras began showing shots of shooting stars as a selling point," Chu says. "This began to attract the public eye to the stars...
"On their own, people may not be able to make any academic contributions to the field of [reducing light pollution], but by shooting astronomical [photographs], hopefully the general public will have a greater natural incentive to appreciate the stars above this light-polluted city of Hong Kong."
For more example of Chu's work, visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HK.StarryNight