Chinese New Year - a quick guide to getting the best images!

The Chinese New Year is today 19th February - but in most of the UK celebrations in ernest commence at the weekend.

Chinese New Year is a great celebration for the Chinese community and a colourful noisy event.

With the Lion dances, firecrackers and wonderful smells of Chinese food it is a very atmospheric event.

To capture this with your camera follow some of our tips below and enjoy your day out!

Chinese New Year celebrations are usually very crowded with the Lion dances especially popular with visitors. A top tip, is to look out for restaurants who have tied Lettuce leaves above their doorway as this means they are expecting a visit from the Lion. If you wait by the entrance then the Lion dance will come to you and you should get the chance for some great shots of the dance and the crowds looking on.

Look out too for the Chinese signs, souvenirs and food displays - all make great images - plus you will have the chance of candid portraits of people enjoying the celebrations.

We don't recommended that you take a large bag or backpack as this will be difficult to work from and be an obstruction to you moving around in the corded areas. A single camera with a 24-70 or similar equivalent range lens plus a tele zoom if you have one would be a great combination.

For the pictures in this post, I used the Olympus OM-D E-M1 - ideal as it is light and compact with excellent AF and metering, coupled with the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens and the new Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro lens. Covering a range from the 35mm equivalent of 24mm all the way to 300mm with a f/2.8 aperture all the way was a great way to shoot.

I carried the camera with one pro lens attached then used the Lowepro Street and Field Lens Exchange 200 AW to carry the other pro lens. This is a very clever piece of kit as it has a drop down area for you to place the lens you have just removed in to while you pull the other lens from the lens changer - fast easy and secure!

You may want to go wide-angle too, as then if you can get close enough you can place the subject in to their environment very well. I also carried the Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm wide zoom lens in my pocket - which is great lens and also very compact with a collapsible design.

Consider also using a flash unit - especially using rear-curtain sync which allows you to use a slow shutter speed to capture blurred movement and then fires the flash at the end of the exposure to give you a sharp image with blurred areas of movement.

Look out too for the colourful lanterns and other decorations which make great pattern shots.

Hopefully you have found these tips of use - do please remember though this is a celebration and always be aware there will be lots of children around so watch where you walk!

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