Caught In A Spiderweb

Inside the tunnel of an underpass, I decided to have some fun with the camera. For safety reasons, try this only when you are a passenger.

Set the camera’s shutter speed to between 1 and 2 seconds. Click and rotate your camera during the length of the exposure. The rotation need not be a full or perfect circle. Your mileage may vary.

To make the light bluish at the end of the tunnel, change the white balance to one of the presets by pre-viewing to see which works best.

This may be one of the last of such colour combos as the city’s street and infra lighting are gradually converted to daylight-coloured LEDs. The spider web patterns here are the result of warmer and older sodium lights.

I wish there are more taillight reds but many local motorists fail to see the need to turn on the lights when entering a tunnel. The red streaks are cars braking into a traffic jam at the end of the underpass.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 50, f22, 1.6 sec.

Anguish Of Attachment

Mummy has more errands to run and the boy is not allowed to follow.

I must commend the mother for not letting the kids run to the shop on their own, even though it is just a short distance. She waited until the busy father came out to get them.

Too many times, we see a driver letting kids wander to the doorsteps on their own because it is near. A curious child can run towards the middle of the busy street instead. Or in this case, run after the bike.

Photography Tip: When composing (or cropping) for a news, documentary or candid type of shot, select the visual elements carefully even when the moment is fleeting. If you can’t think fast, shoot a wider shot and crop later.

Emotional cues can move the viewer on a subconscious level. Firstly, get down and shoot at the child’s eye level.

It is easy to be drawn to the teary face and go for a close-up. I decided to include the face of the sister behind, as she shows empathy.

See how the boy’s hands (as part of body language) are flung out indicating helplessness and resignation?

The father’s hands are both restraining and comforting; conflicting in a way.

Taken as a whole, it is all such elements that make an image more powerful.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/320 sec.

Is Adobe Photoshop CC 2015’s New Dehaze Made For Us?

Adobe announced a major update to its Creative Cloud subscription service last night. Photoshop CC 2014 became Photoshop CC 2015, and included with it are several useful new features.

One of the new features that caught my attention was Dehaze. I downloaded the new version immediately to try out Dehaze. Well, not as immediate as I wanted; for the update process was a bit clunky and took a while.

You have to update the Creative Cloud Services first, Then download the big install of Photoshop CC 2015 (and Lightroom). Copy all your plugins to the new folder and download, reinstall the latest Camera Raw.

Yes it can get ugly; so here’s a quick and dirty demo for those who don’t have the patience, time or a fast internet connection. Haze can now be easily removed or reduced with a simple slider in the Camera Raw Filter. It can add haze too, if desired.

As you know, Malaysia has one of the worst haze occurrences thanks to a leaky neighbour. So the true test of the Dehaze slider, for me, is whether it can fix a picture fogged up by the transboundary haze or smog.

I ran a picture from the last bad haze day which that was captured in October 2014. The original picture was photographed in RAW and I opened it directly in Photoshop.

For a different comparison, I included another picture with organic haze or mountain mist photographed at the Genting Highlands resort.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/800 sec (city scene)
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f7.1, 1/100 sec (mountain scene)

Laundry Day In Slim River

When I saw this house from across the road, I knew the dark planks will play tricks on the camera’s exposure reading. It will overexpose the picture if there is no manual intervention.

Photography Tip: Make your brain an important part of the exposure metering process with street photography. I anticipated a -1 EV compensation. I was already rolling the EV compensation dial before bringing the camera to eye level.

This is where the high-resolution WYSIWYG electronic viewfinder of the Sony A7R (or any good mirrorless camera) is superior to an optical viewfinder.

You can fine tune the exposure (and white balance) precisely without bracketing, firing several shots or chimping by the roadside.

Judging via the viewfinder alone, I dialed it further down to -1.7 EV. The pre-estimation saved time as the road where I walked was narrow, the traffic busy and therefore dangerous. I must get it right with one take and as quickly as possible.

On the road and without a calibrated monitor, I don’t like to mess around with RAW. As such, it is important the JPEG is spot on and ready for upload from location, without further adjustments.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/250 sec.

Four, Says The Glove

Shadow of the ice-cream man’s bicycle cart and a dropped glove. Plenty of photo opportunities outside, at the street leading to the temple. Hawkers, panhandlers and buskers create a carnival-like atmosphere. And you may be stepping on a photography tip.

What time is best for such street photography? Post-4pm. Lower sun means longer and more interesting shadows. It also enhances the texture of the asphalt and other surfaces.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f5, 1/1600 sec.