Montane Mansion – Exploring Quarry Bay
Most people won’t know the name “Montane Mansion,” but ever since the apartment complex was destroyed (or ‘featured,’ whatever…) in one of Michael Bay’s garbage Transformers movies, it’s become a famous landmark in Hong Kong through Instagram. The unbelievable symmetry provides the perfect embodiment of a concrete jungle and the display of Hong Kong’s urban density.
I knew I wasn’t going to shoot anything original, but since it’s such a cool shot, I wanted to check out the Quarry Bay landmark.
I had been dealing with some rough, flat, grey clouds throughout my time in Hong Kong, but at least the rain had held off… of course until the one night I picked to head out with the intention of shooting straight-up. I had just gotten to the courtyard of Montane Mansion, scouted, picked my composition, and set up my tripod when it started to pour forcing me to seek shelter under some awnings. I waited until the rain slowed a bit before I was able to walk out, quickly throw up the tripod, make slight adjustments, shoot a bracket, and retreat back to cover to wipe everything down. I’d then repeat that process until I finally got ‘the one’ that I wanted…
I would have really liked to have been able to blend a bunch of shots over the course of an hour or so and then stitch a panoramic together (16mm was not wide enough to truly capture this), but with the rain spattering the lens, I just couldn’t pull it off.
Photography Has Been Banned?
And actually, after returning home, I did actually find out that photography has technically been banned at Montane Mansion. Banners had been hung stating, “This area belongs to private property. In order to protect privacy and not to disturb the daily life of residents, no one is allowed to take photos and videos without prior approval.” Whoops… I definitely did not notice any signs (I’m not a rule-breaker, especially on foreign land…) and luckily nobody seemed to actually care while I was there with some of the residents smiling and saying ‘hello’ as they walked by. Not to mention a full-blow film crew of 5 guys that was running around that night.