Sunset at the East Coast Park, Singapore

I'm in Singapore.

Yesterday, I went to the East Coast Park, a beach on the east coast of Singapore, and took this picture

The image SOOC, would have looked like this:

Of course, since the image out of the camera was a DNG (digital negative (Raw, for those who understand the term)) file, there is really no way to say that an image would have looked like this. So, this is the image processed with no corrections applied.

Before I get to the processing, I'll briefly describe the process of taking the picture. "It's not the camera, it's the photographer" is the most famous quip amongst photographers, perhaps because it gives them importance. Let me tell you this, the camera matters every single bit. It's not just the megapixels, or the resolution of the sensor, or the dynamic range of the camera, it's also the amount of control that a camera offers. So far, I've been using a point-and-shoot camera for most of my pictures, with the DSLR occasionally borrowed from a friend. However, this image was made using a Pentax K-5, a real kickass DSLR I got my hands on recently.

This image was taken at the beach, a rather windy place with a lot of waves. When photographing waves, it's really easy to give a rather surreal appearance to the water by increasing the exposure time to insane amounts, like 30 sec, a minute, or even a few minutes. Such long exposures even everything out, and the water looks very calm, and yet maintains the colour of the waves, of splashing water, those ethereal white streaks.

So, I put my ISO down to 100, aperture to F9.0 to get a large amount of the image in focus (larger DOF) and also to reduce the light entering the sensor. Using the metering on my camera, that set the exposure time to 30 sec, good enough for this purpose. At such insanely long exposure times, a tripod is needed.

But I don't have a tripod. Before you start shaking your heads, let me tell you that I want a tripod. However, I'll be involved in a lot of travelling, and I don't want to lug a tripod everywhere. I will buy one in the near future, once my life is relatively settled :P

But if life at IIT has taught me anything, it's Jugaad, the art of fixing things. I propped my camera on my camera bag, set the self timer to 2 sec, and added a mirror lockup. This arrangement reduced vibrations, and gave a good-enough image. :)

So, I loaded the image in Darktable, and corrected the exposure. Since my camera's white-balance resulted in an image that was pleasing, I did not tinker with the white-balance. Otherwise, that would be the next thing that I would have adjusted.

Crop and rotate to correct the rotation (if I had a tripod, I could have used the composition adjustment in my K-5 to correct this in camera, before clicking the picture), and to crop out the bright lights in the extreme end (not having a tripod means that the composition is not exact).

Enable Velvia and boost the vibrance to 45%. Maybe a collection of good filters would have rendered this step unnecessary.

Next, I enable the equaliser and choose the sharpen and denoise preset.

Lastly, I add a frame and the watermark for the FOSS Photographer. I've saved this step as a style, so that I don't have to go through the multiple steps of setting frame colour, size, watermark type, position, etc.

So, what do you think of this attempt? Do let me know in the comments below!

Also, if you wish to share this image with your friends, you can do so on Flickr, Facebook, or Google+.

Popular Posts