50 AWESOME HONG KONG PHOTOS: HIKING AND CITY IMAGES

Hong Kong is one of the most diverse locations in the world. One minute you are surrounded on all sides by skyscrapers and literally, the next moment you can be knee-deep in vines in the jungle. That’s what I loved about Hong Kong. I spent an entire month adventuring every day on the trails of Hong Kong, from a helicopter and in the city capturing some awesome Hong Kong views, Hong Kong city images and some photos you probably won’t believe are in Hong Kong. Now, looking back on my month-long adventure, I’ve put together this Hong Kong photo gallery. It was hard to select my favorites but these are my favorite Hong Kong photos.

Throughout this Hong Kong photo gallery, I will write a small explanation above each image to give you some background on where I was, how the image came about or any interesting points regarding the location.

All of these shots were captured on my DJI Mavic Pro 2 drone, Sony a7Riii with a 24-105mm f4 and 16-35mm f4. For a detailed description of all the photo gear I use, what backpack I carry it in and my favorite accessories, I’ve written this comprehensive guide to what I use and why: MY TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR: WHAT’S IN MY BACKPACK

 

MY FAVORITE HONG KONG PHOTOS

The West Dog’s Teeth Ridge. It’s touted as one of the hardest hikes in Hong Kong due to the scrambling required along the rocky trail. It was one of my favorite hikes in Hong Kong, and it is definitely one of those images that people would never suspect was captured in Hong Kong. I shot this photo on my Dji Mavic Pro 2.

 

This might be up there with my favorite Hong Kong city photos. We hiked the Kowloon Peak to Suicide Cliff route in order to be at Suicide Cliff for sunset. The sun sets behind the city when you shoot side on from the ‘Suicide Cliff’ ledge. It was too bright until the sun hid behind these clouds, shooting rays beneath over the city creating this amazing scene. We waited about 10-15 minutes for the sun to line up nicely behind the clouds. Trial and error ended up with a shot I’m pretty stoked on.

 

At the end of the Ap Lei Chau to Ap Lei Pai hike, we explored around the corner and came across this hidden rockpool. I was stoked as I’d never seen it or heard it was there at all. I sent the drone up and lined up this image (using a polarizer to reduce the highlights lost from the sun) and then jumped in the water to add a human element. I had my freind press the shutter for me once it was all set.

 

This was a pretty hard day to shoot. No sun and pretty gloomy. That ray in the background was the most light we saw all day. I was pretty stoked to get this one nice shot out on the Tai To Yan hike so it makes my top 50.

 

The Dragon’s Back hike is one of the most popular in Hong Kong and it’s because of this simple ridge-line that accounts for most of the hike providing great views on both sides. This was a quick drone shot while the sun was out.

 

High above the region of Stanley, on the way up to Violet Hill, I snapped this shot looking back down the stairs of death. It would be a great view back for sunset but we were on that side too early. It’s hard to be in the perfect spot at the perfect time on every adventure but you have to make the best. I was just happy to have the sun out, which wasn’t always a guarantee in Hong Kong in December.

 

Flying in a helicopter over Hong Kong Central was amazing. It gave us a great perspective of just how big and dense the city is. Shooting through the window, in the middle of the day, into the sun was rough but it was possible. We managed to get a few nice photos with a minimal glare that worked out well. You can see the full gallery of photos I took on this flight by clicking here.

 

Out on the Dragon’s Back hike, there were hundreds of butterflies for some reason. I did my best with the 24-105mm at full zoom to get a shot of one of them and managed to come away with this nice one.

 

At the end of the Violet Hill (Twin Peaks) Hike, there is a region that is pretty special. This is because you cannot see a single skyscraper, a single building. It’s just wild hills and I didn’t feel like I was in Hong Kong at all. It was still quite bright at this moment, so I shot the images quite dark and tried to bring out the shadows in the edits.

 

A unique perspective of Tsim Sha Tsui from out the window of the helicopter.

 

I loved this little viewpoint just before Lion Rock. It was pretty crowded here but I managed to get a photo of just these two on the ledge. Another lady was slightly behind them in the image but I was able to spot remove her quite easily in Lightroom to give these two the rock to themselves. I never really like to ask people to move or anything like that so I was lucky to get just a moment where the photo was manageable as I really liked how they were looking out over the city.

 

We were running up to the viewpoint at the end of the Dragon’s Back hike. I’d say we were probably 20-minutes late. Imagine me in full sprint, gear on, rushing for that last light. I turned around and saw this. I took one click and then continued running.

 

At this point of the Twin Peaks trail, I couldn’t see anything. I was completely surrounded by trees on either side of the trail. I managed to launch my drone through the small clearing above the trail and shoot this top-down look of the lush surroundings.

 

As the sun was quickly fading atop the Lion Rock, I had to decide quickly to shoot some snaps before flying the drone. This little ledge turned out perfectly for me. I ramped my f-stop to f20 to get a nice sun star off the rock and good detail in the rock and all the way back to the city. It’s a composition I’ve never seen from Lion Rock before, which is something I always love to try and do.

 

The last light from Pottinger Peak saw the urban alpenglow of Hong Kong light up the tips of the skyscrapers.

 

This right here is a drone selfie. I first flew the drone out here and then saw that it was perfect for a silhouette to stand on the rock. Like I always tell my mum, the angle much it looks more dangerous than it is. I had a platform beneath me and it was actually pretty safe by my standards.

 

The sunset from Pottinger Peak looking back down the Dragon’s Back was special. I often look at the photos online of specific hikes and didn’t find many that showed the ridgeline in its entirety, let alone with an epic sunset going on. That’s why I was so stoked to capture the Dragon’s Back ridge on such a beautiful night from the drone. These are a few shots from that moment.

 

 

 

Not all of my favorite photos are epic viewpoints. I loved this little section of trail on the way up to Sunset Peak on Lantau Island. Although not in the best lighting, I loved these bent trees and the mystical little scene when I looked back down the trail.

 

A scene that reminded me of the Stairway to Heaven Hike on Oahu, Hawaii is actually the descent down to Suicide Cliff from the ridge between itself and Kowloon Peak Viewpoint.

 

These three images are at the peak just above Suicide Cliff. We hung out here not knowing where the popular spot was below. It was actually where we got lots of nice photos without ever expecting to come across this spot.

 

The 24-105mm is such a handy lens. 105mm isn’t a telephoto but it still does a decent job with compression. This means I can shoot up in the mountains and make those peaks in the distance come to life. In this shot, I changed my lens to the 24-105mm after taking off the 16-35mm to try and get that compression. I really like how it turned out.

 

The sunset at Sunset Peak was pretty bad because of the smog but it created an epic moment. The sun literally looked like the moon it was unbelievable. We quickly rushed to take this photo without too much communication and managed to pull off quite an epic shot of the sun.

 

I love this one. I flew down behind these three lads drinking beers just below Lion Rock. They could see me flying and after I buzzed around them for a bit, one of them clambered up to the viewpoint. He asked if I could send him the photo. Little did he know it was one of my best photos of the night. I had edited it and sent it to him by the time he had arrived home. Merry Christmas mate.

 

It was a gloomy day in Sai Kung but the clouds wouldn’t stop us summiting Sharp Peak. It was a frustrating day because this spot would be incredible with sunny conditions and the photos would have been amazing but we made the most of it despite the cloudy weather.

 

I loved this little section of trail on the Ma On Shan hike. It was a battle up the 800m of incline but I really loved how wild this trail was. Having a peak in the background helped to balance out the image and shows where the trail is heading.

 

The final ascent to Lantau Peak, the tallest peak on Lantau Island and the second highest peak in Hong Kong. 

 

Lion Rock is one of the most popular spots in Hong Kong. Just as the sun was in its final stages of setting. I launched the drone and flew away from the rock to shoot back towards the viewpoint. If you look closely you will see the small specks, which are people enjoying the sunset. I flew out this way to capture the shape of the Lion’s Head.

 

As a solo hiker, often I have to shoot my own images and having a person in them helps to create scale. This is why I love the drone. Sometimes I only fly it 30-meters away but it can get into some gnarly spots that a human couldn’t. In this case, these photos will only ever be taken by a drone as they were shot from below the viewpoint, hovering 10-meters away from the ridge. This meant I could set myself against the sky rather than the bushes to make the person (me) stand out.

 

I love the rolling hills and the trail in this shot. Most of the shots I take are on the fly while hiking and this one was no different.

 

 

On a stormy day, we headed up Pat Sin Leng Ridge and were lucky enough to get a pocket of sunshine. I threw the drone up with the aim of showcasing the trail that traverses the ridge. The end result turned out quite well.

 

At sunset on Lantau Peak, we sent up the drone and even through the thick smog that constantly floats in the distance, we could see the bridge in the distance. Again, we had to shoot into the sun somewhat for these shots but on the drone, it is always best to leave the sun just to the side of the image or just off the screen. That way it gives a glow across the image without blowing out the sky too much.

 

Who would have expected such natural beauty in Hong Kong. Not me, I would never have picked this as Hong Kong had I not visited. We explored this beautiful little set of waterfalls called Ng Tung Chai on the way to Tai Mo Shan, the highest peak in Hong Kong. 

 

On my first hike in Hong Kong, I went up the popular Victoria Peak and did the circle walk. It was probably the best sunset of the entire month. At the time I assumed the whole month would be like that. You can still see the smoggy haze but it isn’t as bad as it got some nights. I love how the last light is catching the skyscraper centered in the image.

 

Not an epic viewpoint, but really loved the wild vibe and the greens of this little spot along the Pat Sin Leng Ridge Trail.

 

This was a pretty epic angle showing the clash of mountains versus urbanization. I shot this one through the window on the helicopter on a 16-35mm f4. It was quite harsh light in the middle of the day so I shot it very dark and brought out the shadows in the edit.

 

I’d seen a few nice photos from the Peak Circle Walk, but very few photos actually showed the walking path and the view. It’s just a tough shot to get because of the jungle that overhangs the path. However, at sunset, I flew the drone and managed to grab this angle that shows you just how epic the views are from this jungle trail, which is literally minutes from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Central.

 

This is another example of using the foreground to tell the story. I had to jump inside the bush to get this shot but without doing so, it’s much harder to convey that we were indeed up in the jungle.

 

Hidden away in Stanley is one of the most unique attractions in Hong Kong. It’s called Rhino Rock and I’m sure it isn’t hard to figure out why. I went here in the morning and on a sunny day to make sure there was at least some sunlight on the rock to accentuate the curves and ridges of the Rhinoceros. Just for it’s unique-nature this is definitely one of my favorite Hong Kong pictures.

 

This is probably the most epic ridge in Hong Kong called the West Dog’s Teeth Ridge due to its jagged nature. It was incredibly hard shooting back into the sun but I pulled some highlights back in the edit. I tried to use the rule of thirds here with the person in the foreground, the prominent ridge in the middle and the mountains in the top third to complete the image. It’s one of my favorite adventure shots in this Hong Kong photo gallery. 

 

 

One of my favorite golden hours was atop the Jardine’s Lookout hike. It’s just a short hike, but because you drive up most of the elevation, you end up quite high above the city with great views. The sun sets to the left-hand side, giving you a great glow across the city. I often try and use a bit of foreground to emphasize the jungle from within we are standing while looking out at the city to show the contrast in environments.

 

These four drone images were from one of the best sunset spots in Hong Kong called Braemar Hill. Luckily for me, the colors were pretty good and I was able to bring out all of those colors in post-processing. At this location, you literally sit on a rock in the middle of the forest and watch the sunset over the city before all of the lights come on. It’s pretty magic.

 

These are a couple of nice shots fro behind the flowers atop Jardine’s Lookout. Golden hour, city views and jungle vibes area great combo for city photography in Hong Kong. Throughout this trip I kept trying to find new ways to capture that Hong Kong city view in my images.

 

 

I didn’t expect much cliffs jumping in Hong Kong but at the end of the Ap Lei Chau to Ap Lei Pai hike, this little rock pool turned out to be just deep enough for a little send. It was a bit of a tough photo because we had to shoot into the sun a little bit more than I would have liked. This was because I wanted to stand out against the ocean backdrop rather than have a backdrop of cliffs and be less visible. I also liked the long orientation of the rock pool rather than shooting side on. This way you get a feel of the entire scene.

 

I really love the clouds in this photo. I shot it on a wide-angle 16mm lens to make sure it was framed by the trees but so that you could see the city in the distance. The jungle and the Hong Kong city skyline were the two elements I focused on combining throughout this trip.

 

KEEP READING! CHECK OUT ALL THE BLOGS FROM MY HONG KONG SERIES

A complete guide to the best things to do: 27 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONG

My favorite hikes in Hong Kong: 21 AWESOME HIKES IN HONG KONG

How to plan your Hong Kong trip: 3-DAY HONG KONG ITINERARY FOR ADVENTURE-LOVERS

The biggest ever guide for where to stay in Hong Kong: WHERE TO STAY IN HONG KONG: BEST AREAS & HOTELS

My favorite EASY hikes: 10 EASY HIKING TRAILS IN HONG KONG

The most luxurious places to stay: THE TOP 10 LUXURY HOTELS IN HONG KONG (5-STAR LIST)

The ultimate adventure: EPIC HONG KONG HELICOPTER TOUR FROM THE PENINSULA HOTEL

The toughest overall hike: WEST DOG’S TEETH HIKE ‘HARDEST HIKE IN HONG KONG’

Best waterfall hike: TAI MO SHAN HIKE: THE HIGHEST PEAK IN HONG KONG

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