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Thread: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

  1. #1

    Default First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD


    canon 500d, 18-55mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1.6sec, on tripod, 6.55am

    Hello, this is my very first post for c&c in Clubsnap and my very FIRST post in the photographic community! I am very excited to hear comments from the people in clubsnap, especially criticism which I can learn from! I have been taking pictures for a few months and have finally mustered enough courage to put it up online, for advice, knowing that it would be the best way to improve greatly in my photography skills. Do feel free to criticise this image! Thank you very much!!

    1. in what area is critique to be sought?
    Still fresh in this passion, I do not know what is considered good for a Cityscape image. I love nature and I've more knowledge on nature photography than cityscapes, to be honest. I would like to know if this shot has too many distractions and if the warm colour of the road work against the picture.


    2. what one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?

    I hoped to achieve a balance between nature and the urban jungle. and that my composition did lead the viewer's eye to the sky in the background.


    3. under what circumstance is the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)

    I still remember that my camera was left outside at the balcony the entire night, with my friend's cameras (we, or rather my friend, was doing a timelapse shoot that night). at about 6.30am, we jumped out of bed, realising that we overslept and ran to the balcony (half awake) to compose our shot. 10 minutes later, the sky got coloured. it was amazing.

    as it was cold, and dewy in the morning. I had a few minutes to wipe the dew off,compose my shot, warm my lens to fire my shots. It was frantic yet I'm thankful I manage to catch shots of the sky.

    4. what the critique seeker personally thinks of the picture
    this is by far one of my favourite cityscape shot because of the cool and warm hues from the sky and the road. and it brings back memories of excitement when dawn broke that day. however, that said, I feel that something might just be lacking in this shot but I have no clue. Please do help me along here!

    I look forward to receiving some advice and tips! I am very open to negative comments! and I hope the image size is okay (not really sure on how to post images here yet)

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    My 2c since no one has commented yet. I think it's a nice picture... myself, I can't seem to get the horizons straight so that's one of the first things I noticed. Was it accidental or did you set out to align the horizons? 6.55am is a good time, and I'm sure you put a lot of thought in to the picture already (how you described the way you aligned the leading lines, most likely thought through the evening before). Nice contrast of colour and also the lights.

    I was just wondering about your choice for using f5.6. Was it deliberate? It was also something I noticed because the spots of lights do not have the star-effects. If it was deliberate, I'm just curious which section of the landscape you aimed the focus at.

    Finally.. you're lucky it didn't rain

  3. #3
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    Smile Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    Hey charmaineyap, I do think that it is a nice city shot. Just my 2cents, I think finding the balance for this picture is more of finding a focal point. For this particular I was very drawn to the street lights due to its warm colors and cross shape, which inadvertently directed my eyes to the very center of the junction rather than the cityscape itself.

    I thought it was kinda distracting because I felt the main focus of this shot was to capture the sunrise over the cityscape. If it is, I think all you have to do is to crop out the roads to feature the cityscape and sky only, and use a landscape setup instead.

    I love the colors of the sky, but the lights on the road just pops out too much. Hope I was able to help!

  4. #4

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    My 2c since no one has commented yet. I think it's a nice picture... myself, I can't seem to get the horizons straight so that's one of the first things I noticed. Was it accidental or did you set out to align the horizons? 6.55am is a good time, and I'm sure you put a lot of thought in to the picture already (how you described the way you aligned the leading lines, most likely thought through the evening before). Nice contrast of colour and also the lights.

    I was just wondering about your choice for using f5.6. Was it deliberate? It was also something I noticed because the spots of lights do not have the star-effects. If it was deliberate, I'm just curious which section of the landscape you aimed the focus at.

    Finally.. you're lucky it didn't rain
    hi wildcat,

    thanks for commenting first! and now that you mentioned it, yes! I didn't realise that the roads were slanted, my guess was that I was too caught up with the sky and the road leading in and overlooked the horizontal of the road. (it was taken at an angle due to the balcony constraints, but I could have adjusted my position adjust the plane). Is there any way to rectify it? hmmm...

    Yea, one thing I notice when doing post-prod was the light, if I remember clearly, I aimed the focus at the "meritus" sign. is the lack of focus from the street lights due to the aperture setting? f/16 would be better?

    cheers,
    char
    Last edited by charmaineyap; 26th April 2010 at 12:23 AM. Reason: tried editing, and wanted to give a better reply.

  5. #5

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    I've tried cropping, here's the edited version! etd a teeny bit on the color as well.



    jeffzhen,

    that might just be the reason why I feel this shot seems to be "lacking" in something. hmm... not sure if it is better now. would this be better? Due to the angle I took, the buildings look a bit "off balance". (the slanted horizon) But definitely less distraction from the road!

    wildcat

    ohyes, i forgot to mention, yes thank god it didn't rain!! it was only a one-night stay and this shot was taken on the second day. the first day had a dull sky. and rather hazy too. the morning sky was probably the best thing. wish I could go back to get a shot like this again..

  6. #6
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    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    Try f8-11

  7. #7
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    Quote Originally Posted by charmaineyap View Post
    hi wildcat,

    thanks for commenting first! and now that you mentioned it, yes! I didn't realise that the roads were slanted, my guess was that I was too caught up with the sky and the road leading in and overlooked the horizontal of the road. (it was taken at an angle due to the balcony constraints, but I could have adjusted my position adjust the plane). Is there any way to rectify it? hmmm...

    Yea, one thing I notice when doing post-prod was the light, if I remember clearly, I aimed the focus at the "meritus" sign. is the lack of focus from the street lights due to the aperture setting? f/16 would be better?

    cheers,
    char
    Actually the "straight" thing is more of a compliment than anything needs to be adjusted don't think there's anything that can, or needs to be done about the road.

    As long as you know what effect opening the aperture and closing has on your picture, you can adjust them according to what you want. f5.6 means you have a narrower depth of field than f16 (means some part will be clearer but you may have some portions with focus blur, depending on distance from where you focus on), but it is useful if you don't want the star-star kind of effects which comes with closing your aperture to f16. I think that's what kelth78 mean also. Generally f7.1 to f13 is safe for landscape; below f7.1 and you will be focusing on a subject, above f13 you may get some blur from diffraction and star effects. Understanding this will allow you to control how your photo turns out, as there is no right or wrong, but rather how you want it to be; I myself use f3.5 and f22 at times, but more often than not, between f7.1 and f13.

    That's why I asked if your choice of f5.6 was deliberate
    Last edited by wildcat; 26th April 2010 at 09:15 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    wildcat,

    ah...i see... next time I shall take note of the aperture before firing my shots!

    still not very sure how horizons work in cityscape , it's easier to notice the horizon in nature shots. hehe. and thank you! haha for the compliment too.

    kelth78, will definitely take note of the range next time!

    cheers,
    char

  9. #9

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    wah.. 655am haha 'A' for effort.
    what's ur focal point? it's a nice picture, but nothing particularly interesting to hold my attention for long.

  10. #10

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    nysheng,

    thanks for the comment!

    haha! must be up early for sunrise mah.. lol. hmm yea, that was the question i asked myself after that. When i was taking the picture, i wanted a nice view of the sky backdrop to be the focal point, after uploading the picture, seems like too many things going on eh! next time, i must start to think about my focal point already.

    cheers,
    char

  11. #11
    Member Shahrie's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    Hi,

    I really like this pic coz of the color of the sky. And its very rare that we get to see City Hall, Suntec so empty! Plus with the iconic SG Flyer in the background. This photo has its meaning to me as a Singaporean.

    My own preferences and what I've learnt so far from this forum. I'm not an expert though. Just my personal liking.

    1) I would have shoot this in potrait (Like yours)
    2) Aperture F22 (For constant sharpness throughout and the starburst effect on the lights)
    3) Ill bring the horizon and the streets up 2/3 of the pic leaving 1/3 for the sky (Unless theres more details on the sky and clouds, I wld vice versa. coz the color is beautiful)
    4) A bit more exposure. (To bring up the details on the buildings.)

    Like WildCat had said, there's no right or wrong however theres some basic rules like rules of third. Correct exposure (check histogram for balance), composition of subjects in the photo.

    Whatever it is, just have fun lah

  12. #12

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    For this image, we dont really see the horizon. The best gauge is to look at whether the the buildings are perpendicular. It they are perfectly vertical, then you are spot on. The roads are not a good gauge, there may be slope.

    From your photo, I find that you give the same weight to both the land and sky; Half to both. This may explain why there is a lack of focus. You can crop differently to show where you want to emphasize most. If the sky is more important to you, you may want to include more of sky and less of the foreground. If you want to emphasize more of the infrastructure & the Flyer, include less of the sky. The last thing you want to do is to include everything in a photo, leading the viewers with no sense of direction (except no.3 which gives equal weight to both, since it is a panorama that emphasizes more on the overall scene, but there is still a sense of direction, from bottom to the top).

    For example: NO.1 emphasize a bit more on the sky, No.2 focus more on infrastructure leading to the flyer, and No.3 leads the viewer from the bottom of the image all the way up to the top.

    (1)


    (2)


    (3)



    And, lastly, you can increase the color saturation to make the lights stand out more. The color temperature also is too cold; increase the warm more, that will make the sky more interesting.


    ;
    Last edited by johnlim; 26th April 2010 at 02:52 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    hi shahrie,

    thank you for your comment! i guess that was the exact reason why i like this pic as well, that it is rare we see singapore like this!

    must plan my shots better with the rule of thirds next time! haha. >.<

    cheers,
    char

  14. #14

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    hey johnlim!

    THANK YOU!! this reply is really really useful! I knew cropping might have to be done, but didn't know how it could be done.

    Personally i love the #3, the panorama crop!! and #2 as well. When i was shooting, I was thinking of using the road to lead the viewer to the sky+flyer behind. I felt that the backdrop behind the flyer was pretty fresh for me. and #3 just enhances that! I think I want my viewer to notice the long road, and the sky to complement the feel.

    my original picture had a really warm feel to the road, and it was nice, i loved it when I took it, but somehow during pp, I altered the White Balance on the raw. >.<

    and i didn't know panorama could be vertical -- always thought there is only portrait, landscape, square and horizontal pano.

    thanks for the advice! it really helps!

    cheers,
    char

  15. #15

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    Mmm my proposed amendments might come as overkill to you, lol, anyhow, my recommendations:



    1. Increase highlight and reduce shadow details on the Suntec and Raffles One buildings, so that the focal point shifts to the mid-point of the photo;
    2. Vignetting (just something i like visually, no specific technical explanation haha);
    3. Reduce saturation, and pump up the vibrance levels;
    4. Lower colour temperature, which in my opinion, works better for dawn.

    Rationale:
    A. The posted photo is saturated by heavily-shadowed articles, which is a preferable scene in most cases for urban night photography, e.g., most of the photos on urban skylines are inevitably dominated by high-rise architecture, which are often dark-coloured or absorb ambiance lighting, instead of reflecting them. However, a visually pleasant skyline photo should have highlights to offset the shadow, e.g., street lightings, lighting from the buildings. In your photo, the focal architecture lacks the highlights to offset the surrounding shadow, i.e., the road, buildings on the foreground, the grassland on the bottom-right. What I did was to pump up the highlights on the Suntec and Raffles One buildings, which shuffles the lighting balance of the entire photo.

    B. There should have clear delineation between shadow and highlight details, to accentuate the ambience. You want to suggest that the day is coming to an end, by having darker contrasts, which is often associated with sunset. So what I did was increase both highlight and shadow emphasis, which in photoshop terms, pump up contrast but dial down brightness settings.



    This is a revision to the one above:

    1. Slightly lower colour temperature for the sky;
    2. Improved shadow and highlight details

    These are quick edits I sped through in Lightroom within 5 minutes, if you're interested, I can write a full-write up on my recommendations when I've more spare time. Hope these help
    Last edited by samsliv; 26th April 2010 at 07:46 PM.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    actually since u r using a tripod, why do u use aperture 5.6?
    The buildings aint very sharp, Was a windy early morning as well?

  17. #17
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    Quote Originally Posted by charmaineyap View Post
    wildcat,

    ah...i see... next time I shall take note of the aperture before firing my shots!

    still not very sure how horizons work in cityscape , it's easier to notice the horizon in nature shots. hehe. and thank you! haha for the compliment too.
    Your buildings look straight all over and don't look like they are tilted to the left/right or both (falling inwards or outwards).

  18. #18

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    samsliv, at first look, your photo may give me the "wow! so much details" kind of feeling.

    But, if you look at the sky, do you like the color and the "hard" quality? I mean the original softness, pastel color and smooth gradation of the sky are all gone when too much heavy processing is done.

    Yes, maybe this kind of highly detailed pictures are more prevalent in magazines to attact viewers attention to a certain cityscapes; Lots of details. But if you look at it for a longer time, interest starts to wear off. I mean, details are just details, they don't necessarily convey the atmosphere & feeling; They just look 'clinical'.

    Too much sharpness and details make it look like everything is on a single plane. Every single detail is shouting for your attention( Buildings are so 'hard edge' that they look like pieces of cardboards pasted on the photo). Far objects that should look a little bit softer are now looking unnaturally as sharp as objects in the foreground. This is what I mean when I said I can't look at it for too long; The natural sense of depth is not there.

    Also, I think the thread starter want to focus more on the road leading to the flyer & the soft pastel color sky behind, not all the buildings. By making the surrounding buildings(suntec city & the building across the road) look brighter & more prominent, the original intention is lost.

    A good way to appreciate or find out the basic structure of a photo or painting is to look at it with half-closed eyes; NOrmally, you can find the focus this way. That is, the focus is mostly situated at brighter area. Darker areas are of lesser importance. If you look at your edited version, you will find that "suntec city and the building across the road" occupy a substantial portion of the brighter area. IN other words, they are fighting for attention; The intention of the 'road leading to the flyer & sky' is lost.

    I hope this convey some of my thoughts.


    ;

  19. #19

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    Quote Originally Posted by rronnie View Post
    actually since u r using a tripod, why do u use aperture 5.6?
    The buildings aint very sharp, Was a windy early morning as well?
    hey rronnie,
    I cannot remember why it was an aperture 5.6, (it was taken 2 months ago), I think I wasn't "fully awake". Gee! I could have used a larger f-stop. >.< I kind of regret at that. haha. as to whether it was a windy morning..umm..yes I think it was. plus we were at a high level.

    cheers,
    char

    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    Your buildings look straight all over and don't look like they are tilted to the left/right or both (falling inwards or outwards).
    ooo..i see. thanks! btw, i was re-reading your first post and I think I understand what you meant by the horizon part now. Yea, I did take time to make sure that the buildings were not slanted inwards or outwards. It is one of my mandatory procedures after aligning the horizontal plane. (unless a low angle was deliberate) there were times where aligning the horizon is almost impossible, I was lucky this time because I was on a high level, so not much amendments to my position needs to be done. Otherwise, borrowing a tilt-shift lens seems like the only other alternative! and tilt-shift lens are costly, to me. >.<

    cheers,
    char
    Last edited by charmaineyap; 28th April 2010 at 11:51 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: First post!: Dawn at Singapore's CBD

    samsliv,

    Indeed. it was a huge surprise to me! I went "WOW!", literally. I would say, it is a very strong picture and it did come to me as something I never see my pictures as. I agree, that in most architecture and urban night photography, details and lighting seem to be important. like what johnlim says, the crossroad would be taking center stage here. The thought of shadows and the lack of details in the spaces at the bottom of the pictures did cross my mind, but I felt that the focus should be at the sky and thus decided to leave the details out.

    hmm.. as to the "feel" of the pictures, I prefer my pictures to be natural and true to my eyes. In this case, I love the colors on the buildings, but not much of the sky in #1. The sky in #2 looks nicer, more feeling. Personally, I would love the focus to be on the road to the sky, ultimately the sky. I'm a nature lover, so I hope my pictures convey the message that "nature is that beautiful and wonderful if only we take time to notice". ! heehee!

    btw, the pictures are dynamic. im amazed. very. I like it when the buildings don't look that "blue" in your pictures. how did it happen? it would be good if you could fill us in with more details! (much to learn) hehe!

    and I appreciate that you take the time to edit my pictures! made my day. It brings a different angle to it, which is nice! If my purpose is different, I'm sure I'll like the edited pictures because there is this "wow" factor at the start.

    sidenote, I am going to get Lightroom soon as well, after hearing all the great stuff about it!

    cheers,
    char

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