Where is my DSLR?


This was taken a while back when I want to Kaohsiung, Tainan.  It was actually taken after my breakfast, I left my DSLR in the room and I only had my point & shoot with me.  The view and light was excellent and so I just shot the photo in Panorama mode in the Sony DC (it was a TX-10), the result was pretty pleasing.

I did some post processing adding some noise and tweaked with some curves to get the film effect.

As cliche as it is, the best camera is the camera you have with you; of course you can say you will return to the place 30 mins later, a day later, a week later…  but it will never be the same, so shoot it when you see it.  Even your camera on your smartphone will suffice…




Lightroom 4

I just got a copy of the new Lightroom last week, and started using their new developing tools.  At first I thought it is more of a renaming exercise, where the “recovery” bar is gone… yet after a while, I realise the changes made a lot of sense, and its much more intuitive to use.

The above photo was post-processed in LR only, reducing the highlights by almost -100 (this automatically did the recovery a la Lr3).  Also I boosted the shadows by around 30.  Added a graduated exposure filter for the sky, boosted the clarity and vibrance.  This got me a slight HDR feel with high contrast and strong colours.  Obviously the beautiful scenery of the New Swan Castle also helped.

Give it a go with the new Lightroom, you may actually like it over the existing version.


More HDR

Another HDR attempt, this time its a more surrealistic panorama of Prague.  Again I manage to get the sun beams through the clouds with this 3 photo HDR.  There is also the silver lining with the chapel on the the horizon.

The composition worked is because the foreground is filled with the Prague buildings, and the small subject in the background actually stood out with the less colourful silhouette outline.  The background of the clouds with the sun beam makes the total framing.



HDR in Black & White – Prague

We see a lot of HDR photos on the net, and most of them have exaggerated colours.  What about HDR in B/W?  I am never a big fan of HDR as I am not a post-processing fanatic.  I like to frame my photos during my shoot, and try to achieve the final shot almost straight out of the camera.  Of course at this digital age, it is always tempting to boost the contrast here, correct some saturation there, tuning the curves and levels in PS etc.  Yet I am a strong believer of pre-shot planning rather than post-shot processing.

The above photo was taken in Prague, and it is an 3 stop HDR without tripod.  I manage to capture the sun beams through the clouds which in the the low exposure shot.  I only used the Photoshop HDR merge function rather than Photo Matix or other plug-ins.

Never tried HDR?  Go ahead and search on YouTube and there will be millions of tutorials on this topic, you may not use it all the time, but it is certainly handy to equip yourself with different techniques to make sure you have the largest chance to capture the perfect shot.


Tilt Shift

Have you ever seen photos which looks like a miniature model, yet when you look closely you realise the river, the cars and the people are all real?  You then find out that it was all because of some photography technique.

There are actually a few ways to achieve such effect, the most straight forward, direct way is to use a tilt-shift lens.  It is rather expensive, for example the Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L will cost you over HKD14,000 (USD1,790).  There are also some built-in filters in newer point-and-shoot cameras (or smartphone apps) which mimics similar results .  Another method which I like is by post processing in Photoshop.

The above photo was taken in Prague using my 5D Mark 2 and a Canon 24-70mm f4L lens.  It was inspired by a postcard I saw when walking along Charles’ Bridge, and realise that this scene has been taken thousands of times, in colour or black & white.  I wanted to give it a different look and not just taking another “postcard moment”.  I used a plug-in called “Bokeh 2” by Alien Skin, which is a fantastic piece of software to add planar or circular Bokeh in Photoshop.  On the other hand you can use blur filters with the gradient tool to get a similar effect.

To have the best result, a photo taken from a high vantage point is key.  Just imagine you looking down at a model sized town and you will understand what I mean.  Give it a try and you may discover new ways to see things!



旅遊的時候,我們的眼睛好像比平常在香港敏銳多了。所有在街上看見的東西/人物都變成吸引的攝影主題。可能是人生路不熟吧,本能上就會令觀察力增強,留意身邊每一件事物。上面的照片是我在奧地利Salzburg拍的,之後在Photoshop加了Tilt & Shift的效果而得到令我滿意的作品。