After winning The Herald’s Scenes of NL contest, Alick Tsui shares his passion for photography, and for life lived in this beautiful province of Newfoundland
Before his recent retirement, Alick Tsui was a busy medical professional, but he’s long held a passion for photography. His love of the art began while growing up in Hong Kong.
“When I was in middle school back in Hong Kong, I was fascinated by the camera used by my father, and so I learned the technique,” he began.
His favourite picture is one he shot on a trail in Stiles Cove. “The weather phenomenon was exceptionally interesting. It had been cold and windy continuously for 72 hours and the downpour didn’t go down to the ocean. Instead, it backtracked and blew up into the sky, into the air, and spread all across the forest. And the whole forest was covered with thick ice and it was transparent.”
Finding the beauty
What captivated him the most was that things were not as they appeared.
“It’s not freezing rain. People thought it was freezing rain, but it was the water from the river or from the stream. And it went up and then came down and the whole place was frozen in solid ice slowly, like a stalactite slowly forming, covering the tree branches and every leaf. And it was like four inches thick. As I stood there taking a picture, it was very surreal, very magical,” Tsui continued.
Besides nature, Tsui captures people as well. From the action at concerts to people carrying on with their day, he finds beauty in it all, he explained.
“When I go out hiking I see wildlife and nature and people. Whatever I come across, I just take pictures.”
He does have a strategy, however, when it comes to photography.
“My favourite thing is something that you don’t see very often. It’s like the dream is to see something and say, ‘wow, this is something really special that I can remember with a photograph.’ Like that eagle picture. It’s so difficult to get, but it just happened. And a lot of these things are by chance. And I find that I may be lucky or I just go a lot more often maybe and try to find things and have my camera with me so I cannot miss the chance of taking a good photo.”
Tsui has a gift. He has the ability to bring joy to those who view his work. The secret to that, he added, is to love what you do.
“I love taking pictures. People are so interesting, and people at events are most interesting. I love capturing festivities and how the crowd reacts and how someone on stage is bringing joy and happiness to the crowd.”
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Greenland gentle giants
It’s an exciting time of the year for anyone who loves taking pictures. Iceberg season is almost here, and that’s always a magical time for anyone behind the lens. “Icebergs. You cannot get a better picture than seeing those gentle giants coming down from Greenland.”
Married to Patricia Nash for almost five years now, Tsui says he loves his Newfoundland life and home.
“When I first came here, like everybody else, you find the people are so friendly. Before I came, I was imagining this place was so small. I actually learned about Newfoundland when I was in middle school. I learned of this place called Newfoundland, but never imagined that I would one day settle down here.”
He quickly fell in love with the island.
“It was such a beautiful place. I used to walk into the woods and the trails and just look for the first 10 years. I was very involved in my work and used that time to relax.”
Then came fatherhood and life became even busier.
“Now, as an empty nester, I spend my own time doing photography and hiking. I met my wife and together we’ve seen a lot more places and traveled a lot around Newfoundland. There’s so many beauties of this province.”
Tsui is also community-minded, using his passion for the benefit of others when he can. He’s a dedicated volunteer and loves to help when he can. “I help with community events when I can, so people may think that I get all these freebies and stuff for going and taking pictures, but no. I support communities. I don’t just go and do pictures. I buy a ticket and support the people and while I’m there, I take pictures. It helps my photography and helps the community.”