Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dark Clouds Approaching

Normally, when the sun is coming down, the camera is always pointed to the sun. But this time, I saw awesome dark clouds approaching at the back so I just had to take a shot. Evidently, it revealed me and my friend's shadows.

Most photographers stay at one spot until the sun comes down. I, however, try to move a round a little, trying to find better angles as the sun comes down. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes I wished I just stayed at the same spot I started with. Nevertheless with sunset shots, you can never go wrong as you have your tripod and you plan to do HDR.

Dark Clouds Approaching at Sundown

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sun and Pavilion

Trying not to get cliche when taking the Kinkakuji. I tried to setup a shot where the sun and the temple are together making it double golden (LOL). But, it was too cloudy and the sun was not at full strength so just looks like a white ball from the back.

I shot is a 7 exposure shot (-3 to +3) hand held. For a Nikon, this would have been relatively easier. For a Canon user, I had to hit the shutter button 3 times just to get the dynamic range. (-3 -1 +1, -2 0 +2, -1 +1 +3). I just dropped the repeating exposures during post-processing.

It sucks to be a Canon user when doing HDR! It is unfortunate that I previously worked for a canon related company and tried to stay loyal. Should have gone to Nikon when I discovered HDR

Golden Pavillion

Friday, November 26, 2010

Zen Garden of Tenryuji Temple

When you can't use a tripod what do you usually do? I most of the time analyze the scene of a single exposure can capture the entire dynamic range without sacrificing my low ISO settings. If is is not possible, I crank up the ISO to a level where the highest exposure's shutter speed is well above 1/40. This is to avoid any camera shake during the shot. Photomatix Pro does a good job aligning the images.

Below is the shot of the Zen Garden of Tenryuji Temple. I was a horrible cloudy day to for us. So, when I saw the clouds clearing up a little, I went back to this area to shoot again. Autumn colors are always amazing.

Zen Gardens of Tenryuji Temple

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yasaka Shrine Illumination

After our Geisha hunting in Gion, we decided to find more illuminated temples just before we go back to our hotel. Our legs were already killing us at this point, but it is not everyday we are here in Kyoto. I already saw a lot of picture of the Yasaka Shrine in Flickr and I found it really beautiful. What I didn't know is that the shrine was also located here Kyoto so when I saw the lanterns, my mood suddenly lit up and eventually forgot about my hurting feet.

I have a big problem when I am shooting night lights. There is too much lens flare with my Canon EF10-22USM lens. Is this because I shoot with long exposures? Or is my lens just broken? I hope it is the former. I will try to experiment with different night lights next time I'm out

Yasaka Shrine Illumination

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gliding Across the Steets of Gion

It is not everyday you see a woman like this unless you work in a Geisha house. As mentioned in my previous blog, we were like paparazzis, waiting for a Geisha to pass by. When that moment came I didn't notice she was already in front of us so I had no time to check my camera settings and prepare for the shot. Kinda like Luke Skywalker, I just used the Force and shot without thinking. And surprisingly, the result was absolutely magnificent.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cemetery Gates of Fushimi Inari

Since I saw the national geographic shot of the Torii gates of Fushimi Inari, I know right then and there that I had to go to that place. And finally, after about a year or so, I finally made one of my dreams come true. I have always been fascinated with Torii gates cascaded together. Architecturally, they look magnificent but I don't think it is the real reason why I'm so drawn to them. It is one of the those magical places where even if you take a 100 pictures, you will never capture the mystical feeling of the place.

Cemetery Gates

Friday, November 19, 2010

Geisha Hunting at Gion

I realized it is hard to be a Paparazzi. You have to have no shame and your equipment should be at lest decent enough to properly capture those short and rare moments even at horrible conditions. In Gion, we were like Paparazzis waiting for Geishas to transfer from one house to another. It was hard because I had my camera attached to my tripod and I had no time to change my wide angle lens. I was able to see at least 6 Geishas within the area but only manged to capture 1 shot properly (will be posting it soon).

When I got tired of waiting, I settled for the old school feel of the streets of Gion. It felt like I was in a scene from Memoirs of a Geisha except for the taxis that passed by. I would have stayed longer in Gion but there were more temple illuminations to visit. Next time, I will dedicate one whole night for this area.

Geisha Hunting at Gion

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple is one of three places I need to visit during my short trip to Kyoto (Fushimi Inari and Kinkakuji are the other two). I've seen some night illumination, sunset, and blue hour shots of the temple and they were all jaw dropping. So my expectations were a little bit high when I came here. It was too cloudy that even my -2 exposure was not ble to capture some detail of the sky.

Textures to the rescue. ^_^

Kiyomizu Temple

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Bamboo Forest

Finally, I made it to Kyoto just before my 1 year mark in Japan. I've been living in Yokohama since December 2009 and the farthest I was able to visit was only Nikko. There were only 3 places in mind that I'd love to visit and completely forgot about this place. Good thing I didn't arrange my own itinerary. I would have probably missed this place.

Also I am about to create my own tutorial on HDR. A lot of people are now getting hooked at it. Although Trey Ratcliff's tutorial is available, it is a little bit complicated for beginners. So, I'd like to create my own simple work-flow on how to make the images look more HDR realistic. Hopefully I can finish the tutorial over the weekend.

The Bamboo Forest

Friday, November 12, 2010

Autumn Colors

Still trying to crack that editor's pick in www.hdrspotting.com. Most of my pictures that I thought would make it to the Editor's Pick or at least the Featured section ended up in the Latest section of the site (where the rejects are!). Ouch!

Anyways, this one made it to the Featured section. What's strange is that my picture in HDR spotting is linked to my Flickr. I get thousands of views in HDR spotting while I get only 10-20 view referrals in my Flickr account. Weird huh? Well I guess the only winner in this site is the one who created it. He is probably getting a lot of dough because of the advertisements in the site.

Autumn Colors

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shibuya Ghosts

I've read somewhere that a journalist shot a picture of the Shibuya crossing, published it into a magazine and then got sued for invasion of privacy because he was able to capture a man and his mistress kissing. So, good thing this was a night shot and it is almost impossible for me to get a non-blurred shot of the people.

Shibuya Ghosts


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