Melbourne is a beautiful city! I hope to return someday for another photo shoot… Staying here for a month to observe and photo shoot would be a dream come true, as there are so many beautiful architecture around the city! Finding an angle at Fed Square was pretty tough. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a normal shot or a panorama shot; but when I took a few steps back, the scene just came into perspective.
My friends and I visited the Itsukushima shrine on a field trip from school. Before the trip, I was hoping for high tide, it would have been awesome to shoot HDR of Miyajima during sunset. I suppose I got to see the other side of it. Hundreds of people would be digging the seabed for clams during low tide. If you view this large, you can actually see people digging! Just after the visit to Itsukushima shrine, our group hiked up to the top of Mt. Misen with our Sensei, where you get a panoramic view of Miyajima and nearby islands. Anyway, it’s always fun to find interesting perspective on days that come unexpected.
Calton Hill was on the top of my sightseeing list, but I decided to come here last for the sunset. When I got to Calton Hill, I was really tired. I literally walked around Edinburgh by foot in 8 hours. I spent an hour or so on Calton Hill, just watching the sun slowly submerge into the horizon. Then, during sunset, I went HDR frenzy on the national monument, but I wasn’t getting any luck because the sky was really boring! When I walked up to the top to see where the sun is positioned, I saw this and had to set up quickly for a shot.
I was really tired from the overnight bus ride from London to Edinburgh, but I had to save time and explore as much as I could since I only had one day here! I spent the other three days exploring highland with a tour, more on that later. So I was sleep walking to the St. Giles Cathedral, and as soon as I entered, I was in awe. I had never waken up so quick before, not even coffee does the job! Anyway, composing this HDR was really fun. I didn’t have any trouble using my tripod here, and I was lucky enough to get a shot without people in it.
While I was at Bath, I took a day trip out to see the Stonehenge and the city of Salisbury, it was a rewarding experience! The history of Stonehenge remains to be a mystery till this day; it continues to be the subject of archeologists and scientists. What are the meaning of these stones? Some say the stones were used for religious ceremonies. For me, it was the perfect subject for HDR photography.
Ervine, Joe, and I stayed in this Ryokan! Pretty isn’t it? Staying at a Ryokan was the best experience in Japan. Just before staying here, we hiked Mt. Fuji overnight to catch the sunrise. Oh man, what an experience! I’m not doing it again! Like the Japanese say, “one who never climbs Mount Fuji is a fool, and one who climbs twice is twice the fool.” It was relieving to soak in a onsen after hiking the tallest mountain in Japan. We had a delicious washoku dinner that night. After, we had the best beer I’ve ever tasted, Fujiyama Biru! Kanpai!
This was my balcony view of Totsuka in Japan. MISH stands for Meiji Gakuin International Student Housing. it’s an apartment complex that all the UC students shared during our study abroad program. My friends from Japan have been visiting, and their coming got me to reminisce all the good times we had there, from the first day we met all the buddies in building 10, to the final farewell beach party, like Ken and Andy once said, “Japan was a dream I don’t want to wake up to”. Just thinking back, like the Hanami party, the Kamakura trip, the Hiroshima field trip, the cherry picking event, the tea party, the Independence day party, the Okinawa trip, the farewell party at Yokohama, and the final farewell party at the beach, I will never forget my time in Japan! Thanks everyone! みんな、どうもありがとうございました!
Time Square is the iconic image of New York. The district is populated during day and night. Tens of thousands of tourist take pictures of Time square everyday! I think it’s rather difficult to get a good shot of Time Square without the use of HDR. The flow of advertisements and business just can’t be captured in one exposure! I liked this shot a lot because it showed the business of Time Square, from the variety of transportation offered in New York City, to the flow of neon and LED signs of advertisement all over the district!
The Mohonk Mountain House is beautiful! The resort has been featured many times by travel magazines. I am just grateful that my cousin and her family showed us this resort. I took so many HDR’s of the Mohonk Mountain House, I have yet to find the time to post process them all! This is one of the earlier HDRs that I processed, and it is also one of my favorite! Ever since I started HDR photography, I have been picking up more techniques to apply to my HDR workflow. I am sure, by now, you can tell that I am a big fan of HDR.
Watching a sunset at Bestwood Country Park in Nottingham was very laid back. I can’t decide whether I want a country life after I grow old. There are too many things I love to do in my life, and I mean, too many! I am not sure whether I can refer myself as an adrenaline junkie, but I always feel like I don’t have enough time to do everything that I want to do. You know what I mean? So the thoughts of living a country life never really crossed my mind. But come to think of it, I think it will be fine since I get to do everything slowly and take awesome HDR’s of sunset everyday!
The British Museum in HDR! I wish I get more time to explore museums when I travel. You see, visiting museum is like putting a puzzle together for me. I think that if you know what happened in the past, you can connect the dots to make sense of the present! Unfortunately, my time is so limited when I travel, so I try to cover as many places as I could before I have to leave.
I’ve read and seen many photographers blog about the alarm they get from bringing a tripod into a museum. Well, sometimes you have no choice if they have a check point at the entrance. If there isn’t any check point, you can usually be discreet when you set up your tripod, fire away, and put it back quietly. If there is a checkpoint, you can just bust out your Gorilla pod since it does not look as threatening as a full size tripod .
There are all kinds of interesting architecture inside the London Underground station! I can’t remember exactly how I got to this place, the closest hint I could gather is that it is near the Waterloo station and somewhere between the Jubilee Line and Northern Line. I usually try to plan the fastest route to my destination when I travel, and when I have time, I try to get out somewhere close and explore towards where I want to go. But then, sometimes I get lost, which is no good…
I was heading to the Stuck in Customs photo walk by Trey Ratcliff, a world-famous professional HDR photographer. I was running a bit late (did I say I get lost sometimes?), so I was rushing to get to the meeting point. Then I saw this, I had to stop and setup for a shot. I mean, this is a perfect HDR candidate! I made to the photo walk in time (actually before Trey’s arrival), and I was the first one to greet him!
This was shot within the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I believe it’s a smart idea to get yourself a Gorillapod if you enjoy visiting museums. Chances are, museums do not allow tripods around. Plus, I don’t really trust my hand when it comes to low light environments, especially when the shutter had to stay open for more than one second to get a proper exposure.
This is taken from a park at Nottingham, United Kingdom! Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the park. It does have some amazing landscapes there though! I suppose the puddle had always been there since UK rains every so often. I tried to maximize the reflection to expose the beautiful sky while keeping the puddle in its formation. I could have stayed here for a little longer, but I was paranoid of snakes hiding in overgrown weed.
The Yebisu Garden Place HDR! When Travis and I went to the Yebisu Beer Museum for beer sampling, the experience is amazing. The museum has a lounge next to the bar where you can enjoy the tasting experience. The lounge is really roomy and cozy. If you like beer, I am sure you will enjoy coming here as a getaway from the city life! Be sure to try their Creamy Top Stout, my favorite out of the collection!
This is a single RAW HDR. I had to crank up the ISO to 800 because the room was really dimmed! Since I had to take out much noise in this HDR, I had to sacrifice quite a bit of details to the photo. It’s embarassing! I hope to get a Canon 5D Mark II later this year, one that has a much better noise control than my Canon T1i.
The Charles De Gaulle Terminal in Paris! This airport is huge! I stopped here to exchange flights to England. I wish I’d get more time in-between flight; I could have come up with so many more interesting shot here (Well, maybe)! I took this with my gorilla pod attached to a luggage cart; I didn’t have my tripod with me at that time (Darn it!). You see, I’ve never thought airport around the world would be so picturesque. So now, one of the many things I want to do in life, is to take pictures of airport from all around the world, in addition to the other places that I wish to visit (wouldn’t that be awesome? Yes!) Well, I will remember to hand carry my tripod with me next time, if that is permitted.
The Mohonk Mountain House Lake! My cousin’s family invited my mom and I to this picturesque resort! It was built by the Smiley twin brothers back in 1879 and it has hosted many famous visitors over the years, some of which are industrialist John D. Rockefeller, and American president Theodore Roosevelt. Anyway, I am sure you can find plenty of its history and facts on Wikipedia. If you do visit, please stay for the dinner. Not only can you treat yourself for a fine dining experience after a full day of shooting, the admission price for the resort is also included with the dinner.
The Chihuly flower lake in Bellagio! I’m pretty sure you’ve seen TV shows of people blowing Chihuly’s, ain’t they cool? I wish I can try it one day; I wonder how it would look. I am sure by the time I blow my 100th Chihuly, it would be pretty awesome and artistic looking. By the time I blow that many Chihuly’s installed in Bellagio’s lobby, I think I can make the Guinness record of blowing Chihuly’s. Mmm…
This is a Shibuya view of Tokyo at night! Isn’t it cool that they have a full size soccer field at the top of the building? I’d love to play soccer there, even though I am not good at it. Actually, it would be trouble for me to play on the field, who knows if I would accidentally kick the ball out of the fence and hit someone crossing the street? Okay, bad idea! Anyway, you can see a better quality of the HDR by clicking it, it will direct you to my Flickr page. There are a lot of other goodies there too! Back to the shot, I am not too sure whether I could have taken this shot without my friend, Travis. Here’s the story, when Travis and I got to this vantage point, it had massive reflections on my lens! We literally took out everything we had (jackets, towels, backpacks) to cover up the reflection. What made it worst is that we had to hold our position for close to 30 seconds since I had to keep my ISO at 100, to minimize any potential noise to the image.
This has got to be one of the most unusual temple in Japan! This is Fushimi Inari Tai-sha. It is one of many temple that house thousands of Tori Gates, each of which are donated by a Japanese business. The Kanji characters on the right tells you when they are built, and the Kanji on the left tells you whom they are from. Walking through this temple at night is scary yet exciting! Luckily, I came here with my friend. At one point, I thought I’d lost him so I turned around to make sure he is still there; that’s when I set up and took this shot!
Ahh.. The ever-changing sky in Venus Fort! Venus Fort has a sunset every half an hour. It’s pretty cool to see the sun setting process because it’s so real! Anyway, this was shot just before the “sunset”, which I am glad cause the “night sky” gave it a less contrast feel. I had a friend with me at that time, I wouldn’t know what he would do to me if I asked to stay another 10-20 minutes waiting for the next “sunrise”.
The gates to the Iwatayama Monkey Park! You know, to visit the Monkey park, you’d have to be very careful! The monkeys there are so aggressive that, if you look them into the eyes, they will feel threatened and they will attack you! My friend can attest to that (it’s kind of funny actually). As you ascend up the mountain, you will start to see more and more monkeys, that’s when you know you are almost at the top. The panoramic view of Kyoto at the top of the mountain is gorgeous, not to mention you can also buy fruits and peanuts to feed the monkeys in a fenced house (more on that story when I post a picture of the monkey).
The Ricoh headquarter in Ginza! I think this is the only quality HDR that I processed during my study abroad experience in Japan. I don’t remember how I found the time to process this, but it might have been one of those casual nights where you just feel like staying in, drinking a couple of beer, and enjoying personal time in your room. Now that I think about it, I should have gone out to Tokyo to take night pictures every night. But then again, I would have probably missed the last train home, and had to stay at a capsule hotel or a manga cafe!