Sky 100 – Hong Kong from 100 stories
I’m not sure what has gotten me so excited to come home early from work to write this, but these HDR photos really did something special for me.
Now as a new good friend in HK said, “Technology really helps”… I totally agree with her. Photography is about 1/3 light, 1/3 gear and 1/3 photographer. The light was pretty poor, the photographer is equally as poor, so… I threw as much technology at it as possible. When I said the light was bad, it meant that the light was really pale, the sky had a gray haze and the golden sunset barely penetrated the atmosphere. Whatever leftover light that hit the building was a pale yellow tone that just didn’t do the city justice.
This is where High Dynamic Range (HDR more info here) helped. All the photos used either Pro HDR (on iPhone) or PhotoMatrix Pro (camera) to do HDR applications. Those panoramic shots used Photosynth for iPhone, a glorious no-brainer panorama software. The PhotoMatrix Pro images of them were sent through the regular Lightroom treatment with a noticeable bump in Recovery +48, Fill light +13, Clarity +30, Vibrance +27 and Saturation +30. The key for the HDR’s are not to bracket too far off. In the iPhone, don’t select the darkest and lightest spot. Select one in the middle so you don’t get the “halo” between the dark and light images. If only I had the guts to install magic lantern custom firmware to have more than 3 brackets for HDR. Having more than 3 images to combine for HDR would have smaller steps/stops between images, thus having a smoother transition.
Regarding composition, a few things really caught my attention, the clouds and sunset, the city and the water. Quite simple, but now the key is to put it together. I had 3 fixed focal lengths, 35mm (iPhone), 50mm and 85mm. Wide angle lenses made the city look very small so it can only focus on sky images, so it really didn’t speak to me as Hong Kong. The 50mm was really able to capture the perfect ration between the sky, water and city. The 85mm focuses on the city, and gave it a different perspective people know of the city.