Singapore Skyline at Sunrise


New Member
May 21, 2014
1. In which area is critique or feedback to be given?

Please critique or comment on the composition, the immediate attention on what the viewer is drawn to, overall emotion of the image and the post processing quality

2. What were you hoping to achieve with this image?

I was hoping to improve my landscape photography and composition, technical skills in achieving the right balance of lighting during the golden hour and to evoke nostalgia and patriotism for the viewer. The intent was to capture the image with a long exposure just as the sun was rising over the horizon.

3. Under what circumstance was the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)

Taken at sunrise at approximately 0800hrs. Wind conditions were minimal with the foreground water relatively calm with rippling effects.

Taken with a 600D, Canon EF-S 10-18mm, 10 stop ND filter, 2 sec exposure at f/16, ISO 100

4. Thread-starter's personal thoughts about the image.
Unfortunately the environmental conditions that morning were not favourable to capture a long exposure (I was hoping for at least 10 secs). This was because of a overcast sky just as the sun was rising and this blocked the sunlight for a good 45 mins before the clouds went away. Another oversight on my part was that behind the camera were the trees of Gardens by The Bay (East) and this had partially blocked the sunlight as well. Eventually I had to wait until almost 0800hrs before the sun cast its light onto the skyline. By then the lighting was so strong that even with the 10 stop ND filter I could only afford a maximum of 2 sec exposure.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to critique and feedback on my image!!


Larger resolution:
P.S: I apologize for the large image size, as I had to crop it to remove unwanted foreground.


Dec 12, 2012

I'm not very experienced with landscape photography. But allow me to share my thoughts on your photo from the perspective of a regular viewer.

On first glance I like it. It could be the background of a banner for STB. It has that quality to it. I like how the structures are all evenly lit and the whole image does not have anything too distracting.

However, having said that I guess it's certainly not something I would put up on my wall. Not that it isn't good. It's just that I don't feel it has hat impact. Perhaps that's cos I'm used to seeing dramatic skies for landscape shots and tack sharp lines with good contrast for city skyline shots.

I think on a more technical side, your entire image has a lot of representation in the midtones/highlights and not so much in the shadows resulting in a rather flat image.

Also, the patch of reflection on the water is a little too shiny for my taste and looks more like a blotch. The clouds are a little patchy but that isn't a big deal.

Despite all this, I must say that if I had taken such a shot, I'd be happy. Cos really it looks pretty good overall.


one eye jack

Senior Member
Jun 11, 2011
It's easy to be an armchair critic but you have taken preparations and unfortunately
the weather or elements did not cooperate with you.Maybe try again? I like to quote
the author of Panaromic Photography by Arnaud Frich,Focal books :

“To compose is to form a harmonious whole from different parts.”
Difficult to teach and understand, composition reveals our sensitivity
and point of view with regard to the world around us. This is more than
just a series of rules laid down by the great masters of painting and photography, so
I urge you to allow yourself to express your desires, feelings, and creative vision. Even
though your point of view may change with time and experience, your letting
go should always remain instinctive. With regard to panoramic photography,
composition is influenced mostly by framing and certain telltale deformations that
characterize the image, which are caused by either the camera used or the chosen
joining method"
PS the last sentence does not apply as your image is from single exposure.

If you like what you have captured then it's your "kodak moment".No need to apologise.
To be honest at 8.00am it's already past the golden hour.
You have to understand human nature, if subject too far away ,small and lack details
the eye will not be drawn to the image as it is of no significance ( the primeval fight
or flight reaction, meaning if it is safe then no need to be watchful.)

For digital you can colour it anyway you wish.Is this what you are aiming for?
Image is tweaked in Lightroom ( very old version ver.2.5).
Adjusted clarity ( sharpness),
vibracy ( colour saturation)
contrast,brightness and black settings.Also recovered highlights.
I tried to make it as natural as possible.


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New Member
Dec 18, 2013
Just my 2 cents worth... I think the image is well processed, but maybe a bit too magenta. But you may want to clone away the bright reflection of the sun in the water at the bottom right of the frame. Doesn't close off the image well. However, the composition seems quite underwhelming, but considering it was not a pano, there's nothing much you can do from that vantage point. Cos at first glance, I'm drawn towards the empty space between the ASM and flyer, and it's also the brightest point in the picture. You may want to walk further down to maybe get the flyer in the center and the gap wouldn't be so big.

Also, why take a long exposure? Given the equipment you had and the timing, there's little chance you can smooth out the water, and even if you managed a 1 min exposure, from my experience it isn't that fantastic there. Since it is a sunrise shot, there may be some kayakers in the area? Perhaps you could catch some of them in frame to liven up the image if there are ;p

You may want to start trying panoramas, makes all the difference for scenes like this :)


New Member
Nov 3, 2009
This a crop from a single shot, I supposed. If you looked at the supertrees, they are stretched which is typical of what you get from using UWA lens at the edge of the frame. Doing a pano gives you more details and avoids such distortion.

You can also try taking multiple shots at different shutter speeds, one for smooth water, one for minimize tree movements, one for the building exposure, one for clouds, etc, then combine to get desired effect.



Senior Member
Jan 26, 2010
My 2 cents... I think it's quite nicely done. Nice golden front light, natural looking and serene feeling. From this angle at sunrise it is harder to get dramatic skies because the sun is rising from behind you, however due to the angle of the light on the buildings they look more 3-D here than if you took it at sunset. Both pros and cons when taking photographs from this location at sunrise compared with sunset.

Agree with others to clone out the bright patch on the right lower corner and watch the wide angle distortions at the sides (Suntec looks a bit stout here heh...). Probably this is the widest your lens can get however if you can leave a bit more space on both sides of the image it may not feel so tight.

Were you using a graduated ND filter as well? That may be the cause of the sky looking a bit too magenta-ish. You might want to selectively add green to the sky to negate the effect.

Just nitpicking here heh... thanks for sharing :)


New Member
May 21, 2014
A big thank you to everyone who took the effort to share your comments!
@NormanSelvaraju: Thanks for your honest feedback!! I agree, the water and contrast could be a little better.

@one eye jack: Thanks for the inspirational quote! I agree, 8am was way past the golden hour and the lighting was much too strong, but I thought that since I was there already, why waste the opportunity? But I think for your recommendations on clarity, contrast and highlights (similar to NormanSelvaraju) is applicable, after your further edits (appreciate the effort by the way) the image has more depth to it. Thank you very much.

@Dura77: Thank you for your observation on the bright spot on the water on the right side. I didn't take too much notice of it initially (perhaps I was too engrossed in other areas of the photo) but after you pointed it out, it's starting to become a bit of an eye sore. It doesn't really complement the "closure" of the photo. With regard to the long exposure, on hingsight I think it was because I was too fixated on my initial plan to catch the sunrise and make a long exposure out of it (wanting to smooth out the water). But when it was 8am the lighting was too strong and I didn't take off the ND filter. Perhaps a shot without the filter would have made for a nicer overall image! I was aware that the gap between the ASM and the flyer is bit "obvious" and that was actually where my eye was drawn to in the first place. I had walked up and down the stretch of park trying to get the best composition but I just couldn't close that gap so I ended up taking this shot, trying to fit all the elements in one frame. I haven't really experimented with panoramas before, but I will certainly do so in the near future. Thank you for your comments!

@CamInit: You are right, this was taken with a UWA and the distortion is quite apparent at the edges of the frame, but that was the best I could do. In fact there was a little more at the edges but I had cropped it to make it a tighter shot. I only applied lens corrections to this image, is there any way I can further correct distortion without having to resort to photoshop? I haven't really learnt how to use photoshop yet, so I haven't learnt how to "blend" images and exposures.

@thoongeng: Thank you for your comments! Yes, after this shot, I have learnt that it is more difficult to achieve dramatic skies with the sun behind me. I wasn't using a graduated ND filter (in fact I only JUST ordered a set to experiment with), but the sky is a little magenta-ish because I added some brush strokes in there to give a bit of colour contrast and depth to the photo. Perhaps it's a little much and I should dial it down!

Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts, it means a lot to me and this has encouraged me to put up more photos for your comments in the future :)

Lessons learnt from your comments:
1. Contrast adds depth to the image (highlights and shadows).
2. Be adaptive to the changing light conditions. Change techniques to suit the light in order to bring the best out of the image.
3. Centre of the image is usually the first place where the eye is drawn to, in this image the gap looks out of place in comparison to the rest of the image.
4. Experiment with blending multiple images (sounds quite daunting but I'll try and learn!)
5. Distortion can also affect the overall focus in a negative way if not used creatively.
6. Be more subtle with the colours.



Senior Member
Jan 26, 2010
Good that you have taken away some pointers. But I would say they are just suggestions, after some time you will develop your own style and not all will be applicable to your style hehe

I would not say that the centre of the image is where the eye is drawn to, the eye is drawn to where the area is brighter or more colourful or has higher contrast or sharper. Here the brightest part was the reflection on the water on the lower right edge, next is Suntec and the middle of the image (because of vignetting). I guess your main 'subject' is the skyline, so being drawn to the bright reflection which is not your main subject becomes a distraction.

Just sharing my humble shot I took before... I guess this location is the 'usual' spot people go for because the flyer occupies the middle 'empty' space:

As you can see this was taken at sunset. The skyline is now back-lit, so are in shadows and you can see that the buildings do not look as 3-D as yours. That's why there's pros and cons, if you understand how to use lighting direction and shadows to your advantage then it will benefit your images.

Learning blending is also good as it broadens your repertoire of skills, and you will learn what to look out for when compositing images. However you might also want to think about where your final outcome will be, if your output will be to somewhere where compositing is not allowed eg editorials then you will need to find ways to complete the image in a single shot.

After all that said, just give what I suggested a thought, keep those which are applicable to you, and discard those that don't ;)


Staff member
May 31, 2010
Not sure if TS still check back. I think the composition appears like two parts combined into an image. I find thoongeng's composition of the skyline much more balanced. The spot you were at, forces the skyline to stretch very wide hence resulting in a very "long" image. The light look rather decent and I think you could pull back some contrast and I think it may look better. Do take note also that the water on the left appears more blurred than the right and I found that a little uncomfortable.


New Member
May 21, 2014
Yes, I do still check back! :) I understand what you mean by it being a bit "stretched"..I'll take note of it next time! Thanks for your comments too..I'll pay a bit more attention to the detail. Sometimes I stare too hard at the image and I can't see these small things. Have to take break every now and then and come back with fresh eyes!

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