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I’ve had a few days off from work (3 days off in a row! Felt like a miracle), so I had the chance to have a small trip as well as some spare time to process photos.

Here are some new and old-ish pictures.

The first one is a shot of the Lang Yang museum.



It’s built like that on purpose in order to resemble the look of the rocks in this area of Taiwan. It was noon so there was no chance to use interesting light created from the early morning/late afternoon sun, so I tried to look for a nice composition playing with lines.

Now let’s move to Five Peaks waterfall.

Five Peaks B&WDxO-2


It took me sooo long to process this picture. I took my Panasonic G3 with me on the trip, which means no filters (don’t have any), and since I wanted to carry a light weight I didn’t have the tripod either. Micro Four Thirds cameras produce nice images up to f7.1, maybe f8, after that diffraction kicks in and everything looks washed out.  This was my situation:

a) No filter means that in order to get a slow enough shutter speed I had to use f11 in order to get a nice milky effect on the water, with f20 giving the best results.

b) Using f20 gave me nice looking water, but everything else looked awful.

c) No tripod meant that multiple exposures were not a viable option.

How did I fix it? I placed the camera on a wooden surface and found a position where I could holt it as steady as I could in vertical position. I took 5 bracketted exposures in order to have enough to create an HDR picture, then I changed the settings on the fly and took 1 single shot at f20.

When I loaded everything in the computer, I processed the picture at f20 in order to get the best effect possible on the water, ignoring everything else. I then used Photomatix to merge the 5 pictures, and processed them ignoring the water (flowing water in an hdr usually looks horrible).

Last step: import both pictures in Paintshop, and overlay the milky water on the crappy HDR water. This was easier said than done because the 2 images were not perfectly alligned, and it took me a bit of work.

I’m kinda happy with the result, with 2 main problems though. The first one is that I prefer colorful pictures of waterfalls, but that waterfall in particular has none. It’s just water, rocks and a mountain of green. I took pictures in the past of waterfalls that were surrounded by interesting rocks and vegetation, but this one doesn’t. I was basically forced to go black and white, which is not bad and focuses all the attention on the water, but it’s far from (my) ideal result. The second issue is that I needed a wider lens, with a graded filter and a tripod. This would have allowed me to take a single picture with silky water and good detail in the rest of the picture, saving also a loot of time in post processing.  Next time I’ll be more prepared.

Next, a few pictures from Yang Ming Mountain in Taipei (shot with Canon 6D).





Fun fact: I carried with me all the gear for night photography because I was planning to take pictures of the stars, and maybe do some star trails on top of the far away view of Taipei. It turned out that we had 2 days of cloudy sky and foggy weather, so the best that I could do was to take some shots of the gloomy landscape and make it look like an out-of-this-world location.