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Sunset A Day After

The Philippines has just experienced typhoon Bebeng (international name Man-yi), the second of the year and brought a mean 170 km/h winds. But one of the best times to shoot a sunset is after a typhoon has passed where rain clouds are still present to reflect the suns colors and strong enough winds have blown grey-brown pollution somewhere else.

PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) uses its own naming scheme apart from the rest of Southeast Asia for typhoons (tropical cyclones). The list below are tropical cyclones for 2011.

  • Amang, Bebeng, Chedeng, Dodong, Egay, Falcon, Goring, Hanna, Ineng, Juaning, Kabayan, Lando, Mina, Nonoy, Onyok, Pedring, Quiel, Ramon,
    Sendong, Tisoy, Ursula, Viring, Weng, Yoyoy, Zigzag, Abe, Berto, Charo, Dado, Estoy, Felion, Gening, Herman, Irma, Jaime.  source-Wikipedia

Images were shot using Canon DSLR mounted on a ball head tripod. Images captured RAW, processed to tif file using various softwares (DXO Labs, Photomatix) and further processed to final upload version in Photoshop CS5. Do click images to view larger…

More on HDR here and here


Captured right after the sun has just set into the horizon. 3 exposure HDR processed in Photomatix--Exif: EOS 7D, 17mm, f/16, 1/5, ISO 100, tripod mounted and remote triggered with Canon RS-80N3.


Same view as above in portrait orientation. 3 exposure HDR processed in Photomatix-Exif: EOS 7D, 17mm, f/9, 1/3, ISO 100, tripod mounted and remote triggered with Canon RS-80N3.


Captured a few minutes after the above images. 1 exposure HDR processed in DXO Labs-Exif: EOS 7D, 17mm, f/20, 5 sec, ISO 100, tripod mounted and remote triggered with Canon RS-80N3.

Photo Realistic HDR


The 5 (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2) exposures used to achieve a subtle High Dynamic Range through AEB mode (Auto Exposure Bracketing) with Canon gear. My preferred software either Photoshop or Photomatix but now a days post processing work has become less painful with Adobe’s much improved Photoshop CS5. Do refer to the supplied DSLR manual on how to set AEB.

Put the DSLR on a sturdy tripod and attach the remote shutter release. Best results if your DSLR have live view-saving a stiff neck and a trip to the masseuse. To make this technique less painful use AV mode and dial in an f-stop of 6.3. Auto focus on an object near the location of the setting sun. After achieving focus switch the lens focus mode to MF (manual focus)-to prevent lens from focusing on another object throughout the 2 sets of AEB exposures.

Two sets of AEB’s must be achieved. Since Canons can only do 3 consecutive exposures (AEB -,0,+) the first set of 3: -1, 0, +1 should be shot first. Then the next 3 exposures at -2,0,+2 will require you to dial in manually through the menu. Do this as quick as possible while keeping the DSLR on the tripod. Colors change every second as the sun sets further into the horizon faster than selecting a song on the iPod.

Once the initial 6 exposures are captured try the same process again after a few minutes to get different colors in the sky. Or just to do some practice runs in getting used to fiddling around with the AEB settings.

Upload the images unto your comp and start the HDR process. Use 5 out of the 6 exposures and since there are 2 identical -/+0 exposures in the 2 sets just choose one. Process the five exposures in HDR software and save as TIF. Don’t get trigger happy on the sliders in the HDR software. HDR brings out the high light and shadow details but keep it as realistic as possible. Open another window with -/+0 exposure to make sure the adjustments aren’t too far from the original (use artistic judgement here. There is no right or wrong just too much and too subtle)

Have fun and the best part is when your viewers don’t know a photo is actually an HDR. Twilight at 5:45 pm captured on Canon EOS 50D, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, ISO 125 with Benro tripod and Canon RS-80N3 Remote Switch.


On Boracay Island

Still have much photos to edit and post process. In the meantime, this is the full HDR version of my welcome photo (right sidebar).

Station 1 of White Beach on Boracay Island- Boracay is an island of the Philippines located approximately 315 km (200 miles) south of Manila and 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. In 1990, it was voted by the BMW Tropical Beach Handbook as one of the best beaches in the world and again in 1996 by British publication TV Quick as the world’s number one tropical beach.– Thank you, Wikipedia

Captured in May of o-ten. Shot in RAW, converted to tif in Canon’s DPP and further enhanced in Photoshop. HDR was achieved through CS5 HDR adjustment tool from 1 exposure. Canon EOS 50D, 17mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/60 sec with circular polarizer (CPL) filter attached.

Notice the shadows-this was shot during high noon. It was perfect hot beach weather without any wind. Without the CPL the fine white sand of White Beach would have been overly over exposed. The CPL filter acts like sunglasses for the lens, darkens the blues and evens out the whole scene. As much as possible keep one in the gear bag. Without further ado- the before and after.


Original straight from camera shot.


Click for larger HDR version


So, what’s the fuss with the this HDR hoopla now taking over the purist definition of a photograph? It’s called High Dynamic Range and I’ve been tinkering with it since ’06 during my much adored time on flickr.

I do not condemn nor encourage the HDR practice but it sure does produce some kinda vibrant off spring of a photo as we know it (truthfully, I enjoy it). A flat photo can readily be given new life. Either shoot 3 auto bracketed exposures at +3, 0, -3 or 1 delicious RAW file.

From an outing with a friend around the Manila Bay area: That day was as gloomy as over cooked pasta noodles. But luckily, I always shoot RAW and here are the 3 photos straight out of the camera. RAW converted to jpeg and shot with Canon EOS 50D and EOS 40D. No post processing, nothing and that middle photo was captured through grimy glass windows with light reflection to boot.


Below are the final post processed photos from the RAW shots. I will get into more detail on a how to but for now the gist of it all: RAW-process to 3 differently exposed shots-convert to TIF 16 bit-processed with Photomatix-load into Photoshop to enhance some more and finally convert to tiny jpeg file for posting.




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