Typhoon 8 sounds closer to a name of a rock band. This was my first experience in a Typhoon in Hong Kong. I received a message from my colleague saying ‘congrats’, no work today. Without having a clue, I turned on the morning news and saw destruction of boats and fallen Jackie Chan style bamboo scaffolding. Without thinking, I jumped back in bed and napped for a few more hours. The guilty conscious in me made me get dressed in water proof gear and run outside to chase the storm. By that time, all destruction was cleaned up and what was left was just rough seas, howling winds, and amazing clouds. So I just knew, I had to capture them. But this was one of those shoots which I had no idea how to capture them, and what the results were going to turn out, but I just kept firing.
With the light all gray and dull, there wasn’t really much to capture, but the first thing that came to mind was High Dynamic Range (HDR). A few nights prior, I loaded my CF card with Magic Lantern which enables the 5DmkII to capture bracketing up to +/- 4 stops in 13 frames, instead of the in camera +/- 2 in 3 frames. I tried using it and it worked like a charm.
Then after, I threw them into PhotoMatix which is one of the better HDR software out there ‘approved’ by one of my favorite photographers Trey Ratclif. The software put 9 of my images together put together a strong dramatic image that really brought justice to the image. One of the side effects of having the dramatic skies is the cartoony city scape which I think draws a lot more interest in the photos.
In hind sight, what did I learn, or would have done differently? I would say, a learning experience from this shoot is, get yourself out there and shoot! If that guilty conscience didn’t wake me up, I would have been in bed till 2pm.