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Posts tagged “hdr

railway revisited

went out to bukit timah railway today to shoot in in the fading light. i was hoping to get the sweet, peach-pink light that i saw the previous time i was there shooting dapper. no such luck though. oh well, that’s the way things are i guess.

i was nearly hit by the train above while setting up my tripod beside the tracks. didn’t expect it to come from the direction it did. thankfully, i heard the horn in time to get out of the way and crouch. as the train passed by, something just compelled me to point my camera at it and shoot. good thing that happened.

anyway if you are thinking of shooting at the railway, a train will pass by the station at about 6.15 – 6.20 pm. try to make sure you are well clear of the tracks then. another thing to avoid would be the guard. he usually comes out of his post in the station to switch the tracks at about 7 or so. stay out of his sight then or risk being chased away.

the obligatory detail shot.

i saw this kiddie chair as i was walking along the tracks towards the station. it was a strange sight. you could just imagine some 2 year-old, all strapped in, giggling and pointing as trains speed by.

stayed till it was nearly dark to try some long exposures. this one was about 10 seconds, i believe. i like the way the colours contrast.

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labrador & a bird of steel

went to labrador park with yudi to shoot the sunset just now. the sky was really cloudy and that muted the colours somewhat. i planned to squeeze every ounce out of the scene by shooting to create hdr images in post. the above is a 7-exposure hdr image, with a little bit of colour-enhancement in photoshop.

i actually prefer this one to the landscape above. this was shot earlier in the evening. just so happened that i glanced up and saw a plane looking as though it was headed straight for the sun. i liked the sparse minimalism of this photo and enhanced that by stripping the colours away and giving the photo a look of stark contrast.

i think that shooting landscapes requires a great deal of patience and commitment. the weather isn’t always going to be fantastic. the light and the colours are not always going to turn out the way you want. research on the area helps a little but mother nature loves turning the tables on people so no guarantee there too.

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spent most of the day at tanah merah country club as second photographer to a friend of mine, covering the annual ymca charity golf event.

it was a routine (read: boring) job of taking group photos and the usual so i decided to do some of my own stuff on the down-time. above is the view from the 1st tee where i was stationed.

the most fun part was probably getting to drive the golf-buggy and observing the eccentricities of the rich folks in attendance. their buggies don’t ride; they float about 2 feet off the ground, bolstered by obnoxious retorts and larger than life egos.

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to see more of my photos, click here.


it is funny how the weather never smiles on me when i intend to do outdoor shoots. went to chinese garden for a walkabout under a sky that threatened to burst into song any moment.

standing right in the centre (i believe) is the 7-storey pagoda strategically obscured by trees, which is why i did not managed to get any decent wide shot. so i went up close and personal for a little exercise in abstraction. i employed the hdr technique with blending in photomatix and a little tweaking in lightroom and voila!, ‘pagoda rising’ and ‘stairway to hell’ were born.

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to see the rest of my pictures, visit my flickr. click here.

fun with hdri

top to bottom: ‘come doomsday’, ‘silo’, ‘untitled’.

a couple of days ago i went on a shooting walkabout with kyle and as usual, we ended up along the familiar urbanscape of singapore which we should deliberately avoid in future.

anyway, for this particular walkabout, i decided to shoot in order to experiment with a technique known as ‘hdri’, or high dynamic range imaging.

allow me to geek out for a moment. hdri is basically a technique that allows a shortfall of the camera to be overcome:

when a picture of a high contrast scene is taken, the ‘dynamic range’ in that scene is far greater than what cameras can currently record. examples of these is when the sun (light source) is in the frame, creating a very bright background (the sky) and very dark foreground (land, or buildings, or whatever surfaces the sunlight does not reach).

what happens is that if the photographer exposes the picture in order the preserve details in the sky, the foreground would go completely black (no shadow details). should the photographer choose to expose the darker foreground properly, the sky would then be ‘burned out’ (turned totally white with no details whatsoever).

with hdri, the photographer records at least 3 images of the same scene, exposing for the hightlights, midtones and shadows. a tripod is usually required so as to keep the camera steady. i did not have a tripod that particular day so i just engaged the auto-bracketing function on my camera (in 2 stops interval), handheld the camera as steady as possible and fired three-shot bursts. seemed to work fine in this case.

in post-processing, the images (at least 3 and up to 7 or even 9 with differing exposures) are blended together using photoshop (very tedious if you want to do it properly) or other softwares such as photomatix (which is the most popular choice).

since computer displays are unable to properly render hdr images due to their over-the-top bitrate, a process called ‘tone mapping’ is then carried out to rein in the blended image so as to make it viewable. creative effects, such as that you see above, can be carried out during this process. i then played around with the tones and added sharpening in photoshop, yielding the images above.

there are of course purists (already!) of hdri who scoff at attempts to generate the kind of pictures you see above. to them, the ‘natural’ look and feel of the original scenes cannot be subjugated to such processing. but hey, everyone has got things that rock their boat so let the hating and the creating continue, if i have anything to say about that.

regardless, i have to admit that some of them make sense in pointing out that the fundamentals of photography, such as composition and lighting should be elevated above techniques, which is what hdri is. techniques come and go, but mastery of the basics will always remain crucial to a photographer’s development.

having said that, i believe just as much that new technologies and techniques should be harnessed in allowing the expression of an artistic vision.

i am just getting started with this technique and i see myself using it a lot in future. just got to always remember that at the end of the day, hdri is only what it is – a tool.

to read wikipedia’s article on hdri, click here.

to see more posts on photography, click here.

to see the rest of my pictures, visit my flickr. click here.