Camping can be super fun, and there’s (probably) nothing better than hanging out with your besties and sleeping outside in a tent. Well, except for the mosquitoes. And the no toilet thing. And not being in your own bed. Okay, there’s a lot of things that we don’t love about camping, but the people behind a new campaign at New Town Plaza in Sha Tin are trying their best to change our minds with “Let’s Go Glamping” (that’s glamorous camping, or the sort that doesn’t involve worrying about no toilets). They held several workshops teaching people how to make sushi and take fab photos with what’s on hand at a campsite.
Our cooking instructor, Wing Nam-wo, told us about 12 simple dishes that can be made with tuna, beetroot and pepper. After that, Wing showed us the best way to make beetroot sushi. Sounds strange, right – beetroot and sushi? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – the colourful dish is as tasty as it is eye-catching.
First, we used a rice cooker to steam the rice. Then, we pan-fried the beetroot with the rice.
“The juice from the beetroot will mix in with the rice and give it a nice purple colour,” Wing told us – and it did. After placing a sheet of nori (or seaweed) onto a sushi-rolling mat, we spread the rice mixture onto the nori, making sure we covered the whole thing. After that, we added other ingredients onto it, like cucumbers and pickles, and then we tried to roll it all together into a sushi roll shape.
At first, we couldn’t figure out why our sushi rolls kept falling apart, but Wing taught us how to make them tight and compact – “Don’t just roll everything up all at once, do it a bit at a time, and squeeze it as you roll it.”
Sushi isn’t really a dish you’d think of taking when you go camping, but it’s so much a part of our lives here in Hong Kong. It can be expensive, too, so it was great fun learning how we can make it at home – perfect for us food-obsessed 852-ers!
Every wannabe snapper knows that buying all that smart gear for taking high-quality photos can be expensive – a typical high-end telephoto lens from Canon or Nikon can cost you HK$10,000 or more. Lina Wong, our workshop tutor, showed us how we can use dollar-store items, or even recycled materials, as part of our camping photo kit.
Instead of buying a special polarised filter to combat glare or UV rays, for example, we can use lipstick on our regular filters. That’s right – one of the most common items in any girl’s handbag can be used to turn a normal lens into something special.
Junior reporters learn how to capture the world in a drop of water at a droplet photography workshop
If you smear a little lipstick onto your filter and screw it onto your lens, and try to focus on a subject with your camera, you’ll see what happens. Not only does the lipstick add a dreamy layer of bokeh (the blur in the out-of-focus parts of an image – something sought after by even professional photographers), it’ll make your subject “pop” out from the background.
Another thing that surprised us was that we can wrap the plastic foam fruit protective net around our lenses. It gives photos a rounded, creamy bokeh effect. So next time, instead of throwing the net away, re-purpose it for your photography kit. Not only is it practically free (the only cost being what you paid for the fruit), it stops a piece of plastic from going into a landfill, too.
Our photography tutor also taught us how to create Snapchat-like filters with regular camping gear, too. If you stick a piece of tissue with a small hole in it over a lens, it adds a foggy filter to your photo. If you smear a little bit of toothpaste on the edges of a filter and pop that over your lens, that creates a nice effect, too!
Wong showed us we don’t really need to carry all sorts of fancy equipment with us every time we go outside. When camping, or even glamping, it’s probably best to take a stripped-back setup. All that gear can be heavy, and creativity isn’t about having the most up-to-date gear; it’s about ideas and taking a shot that reflects your own personality.
Reports by Junior Reporters Hillary Yip and Veronica Lin