Tag Archives: tonemapped

Country Temples

Today’s post includes some country temples. These shots were taken while visiting Yuling’s grandparents who live in the countryside.

I was amazed at how many temples there were in such a small area – and even more, how large and intricate they were as well.

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On the Edge of Heaven

Last weekend, I visited Miaoli with Yuling to go hiking on Lion’s Head Mountain, a trail and mountain ridge located in a national park.  While we had beautiful weather and a decent hike, I was a bit disappointed at first to note that the “peak” did not have anything worth looking at… it was too crowded with trees.  Once we made our way further down to a temple complex, however, things changed.  We were met with a 180-degree view and a temple complex that works its way down the side of the mountain.  It was pretty amazing.

This HDR image was taken to capture the sunset and how the rooftops looked with the mountains in the background.  I’m proud of it, but it’s given me some headaches.  First the picture… I’ll describe more below.

First, I’ll mention that the image deserves to be seen full-size.  You can do that by clicking on it and ending up in Flickr.  Or, you could right click and open it up in a new tab/window.

I’ve shot HDRs for this blog before, but had trouble with this one because of the lighting.  On one hand, I wanted my subject, the dragons, to be well-lit and easily visible.  On the other, the sun was setting BEHIND them.  I shot this at f/11 on the 35mm at 1 1/500 shutter speed and bracketed the pictures to a -2, 0 and +2 EV setting.  The ISO was 200, though I did de-noise the final product because of Photomatix giving me more crud to deal with.

After de-noising, I had to deal with the dragons.  Taking away too many shadows meant making a dreamlike/creepy HDR.  The kind that I hate.  Including what was originally there meant taking away from the wonderful detail of this temple.  I went for a mix and spent quite a bit of time brushing the layers on where necessary.  It wasn’t an ideal way to spend my time, but I think it worked.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

If you’re a photographer and want to criticize/critique, please feel free.

I’ll probably post more photos from this trip tomorrow.

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More from the East Gate

I’ve previously posted an HDR photo of the East Gate of Hsinchu City, but revisited last weekend while exploring Hsinchu after a scooter ride around the area.

These shots were taken around the East Gate, a famous landmark of the city.

The first is a tonemapped image taken with a single exposure and processed in Photomatix.

I found a good spot to try the longer shutter speed.  I turned it black and white after the longer exposure bleached out the sky since it was a partially overcast day.  The last one is further away and is not tonemapped:

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Vanishing Point

Few words today.  I think the title speaks for itself.  This was taken while getting the shots of the egrets and herons Saturday.  I made this black and white after turning it into an HDR to accentuate the lines disappearing into the “VP.”

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HDR: Hsinchu City East Gate

Today, Yuling and I went to the Hsinchu City Glass Museum to check out a culinary festival.  There were a few photo opportunities there and while we didn’t eat enough (we stupidly had lunch before we went!) I did get a chance to check out a gate I alluded to at one point in the past in this blog, the Hsinchu City East Gate.

The gate was built when the Chinese began heavy colonization of Taiwan.  Hsinchu is actually one of the oldest cities in Taiwan, dating back about 400 years.  Before the Chinese took control of it, the city was a Taiwanese aboriginal settlement.  In 1827, it was completed by the Qing dynasty, though the Japanese colonizers later tore down much of the wall when they redesigned the road system.

I liked how this shot shows not only the gate, but the other things that have sprung up around the roundabout that surrounds the structure.  The advertisements and signs of an affluent 21st-century city contrast in an interesting way with the structure.

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Hsinchu Train Station (HDR)

This HDR is a three-exposure shot taken at Hsinchu Train Station, a famous landmark from the era of Japanese colonization in this very old city.  I’ll have to get back to Hsinchu to get sites like the rennovated city gate, but until then, I’m digging through some older shots I took that were never posted.  This shot isn’t completely natural looking – still not sure what I think of it…

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A Bit Different…

This shot was taken near NTU – National Taiwan University on the day of the Taipei Artist Village Daniel Pearl Music Fest.  It’s a lot different than most of my work – even my HDRs in that it’s probably overprocessed.  I decided to go with this look to capture the movement and the detail of everythiing going on.  In addition, it’s a bit small below  (click on it for the Flickr lightbox, please!) due to a crop I made to put the focus around the movement – people, traffic, bikes, scooters, etc.

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Hsinchu HSR Station – Jhubei

Hsinchu HSR Station is in eastern Jhubei, a recent addition to the sprawling developments and a great asset for expats like myself.  It wooshes by at about 155 mph or 244 km/h, so going to cities like Taipei is a breeze, cutting an hour and a half train ride into a third of that time.

I’ve often wondered why we don’t have these in the US with our vast size, and quite honestly, it’s a shame that we don’t have access to something like this.

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Churches in Hsinchu

These HDRs are two churches I saw right before  our visit to the zoo yesterday.

While Christians make up a small part of the population, they are visible in most cities.  Some other groups do include Mormons (with the infamous name tags and black ties – both Taiwanese and American), Catholics, and offshoots of Taoism and Buddhism such as I-Kuan Tao and the Red Swastika Society (the swastika here is used as its original intent – a symbol of good will from the Hindu and Buddhist lines of faith) – though these other groups often melt into the larger Taoist and Buddhist sects.

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More from Sinwu

I managed to miss posting some great shots last time that I took in Sinwu.  The main reason was that when I got back on Sunday, I didn’t feel like processing them all.  Here are some more from last weekend:

The above is obviously a grassy field.  Typhoon Fanapi makes up the cloudy section of the sky.  You might notice the garbage can to the bottom right – I would’ve cropped that out, but I would’ve had to take out the beautiful sun… or the interesting irrigation ditch that kind of leads the eye.

Finishing off with a country house – much like you’ll see in rural Taiwan.  These are interesting… kind of a mix between urban architecture along with the countryside.  Much different than American styles when it comes to architecture or city planning.

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