how I use categories on chromasia

All the entries on chromasia are placed into one of seven primary categories: six to reflect the aspect ratio of the image, and the seventh to indicate that an image isn’t available as a print. Additionally, each photograph may be assigned to one of more additional categories or subcategories, e.g. my travel category, children category, and so on.

about the ‘night shots’ category

The 'night shots' category includes various shots taken after the sun goes down. Mostly these are outdoor shots of one form or another.

14 October, 2014 // Koln cathedralcomments & reactions

I've hesitated to post this one, despite the fact that it's one of my favourite shots from my recent trip to Koln, because it doesn't scale well - there's just too much detail to reduce to a web image. That said, I do like, so here it is, but if you'd like to take a look at the original version I've linked it below. If nothing else, it does a great job of demonstrating just the sharpness of the Fujifilm 10-24mm :)

http://chromasia.com/images/koln_cathedral_hr.jpg

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9.18pm on 20/9/14
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7 May, 2013 // Jura #2comments & reactions

Here's another shot from Jura, taken during my first evening on the island, from the jetty just across the way from the Jura Lodge.

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Latitude
Longitute
8.58pm on 30/4/12
Sony SLT-A99
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N55°50.042'
W5°56.991'

This was taken yesterday evening during my Creating Dramatic Images workshop. We'd headed down to South Shore (Blackpool) and photographed the sunset, the waves at dusk, and this, the largest mirror ball in the UK. “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” was created by Michael Trainor in 2002 and named after the US film about dance marathons. There are 47,000 tiles or thereabouts, none of which you can see in this shot, but only because it rotates and this was a 10s exposure.

I have another five shots from the weekend that I'll post soon, but, in the meanwhile, let me know what you think of this one.

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9.34pm on 11/8/12
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
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9 July, 2012 // GPP 2012 #17comments & reactions

This was taken back in March during my Shoot the City workshop at GPP 2012.

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5.45pm on 5/3/11
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22 May, 2012 // sea driftcomments & reactions

This was shot on Saturday evening after the first day of my Creating Dramatic Images workshop: a thirty second exposure, taken a few minutes before high tide.

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21.57pm on 21/5/12
Canon 5D Mark II
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30 April, 2012 // GPP 2012 #16comments & reactions

This was taken on the same evening as this one, and while the viewpoint is similar – they were both taken from the same section of beach near the Burj Al Arab in Dubai – the processing is quite different. For the previous shot I exaggerated the sodium light pollution creating an unnaturally 'warm' image. For this one I manually altered the white balance when I converted the RAW file. Technically then, this is the more accurate of the two, but I think I prefer the previous one.

As always, let me know what you think.

On a totally different matter: don't expect too much sense from me for the next week or so. After thirty-odd years, on and off, I've stopped smoking. I had my last cigarette just over nine days ago and I'm not in the least bit tempted to have another. I will be pleased when I finally get over the withdrawal though: at the moment I can't think straight, can't concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time, and could fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

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8.56pm on 8/3/12
Canon 5D Mark II
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25 January, 2012 // shoot the city #2comments & reactions

This was taken from the roof bar of the Four Points Sheraton hotel on Sheik Zayed Road in Dubai, the location from which I shot one of my favourite night shots in Dubai. Unlike that shot though, which was all about capturing as much detail as possible, this one was an attempt to create a slightly different impression: shallow depth of field, the reflections in the glass, and so on. I don't think it's anywhere near as successful as the previous image but, as an alternative way of capturing the location, I am pleased with how it turned out.

Let me know what you think.

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7.47pm on 15/11/11
Canon 5D Mark II
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16 January, 2012 // JBR reflectionscomments & reactions

This is a shot of the Jumeirah Beach Residences taken from the lowest frond of the Palm in Dubai while I was running my Shoot The City, Day & Night workshop that I ran at the GPP Fotoweekend training event in November. It's also the image that GPP are using to advertise the next occurrence of this workshop at GPP 2012. If you think you might be interested in attending, take a look at all the workshops that will be running this year. It's always a great event, but this year's line-up is truly fantastic.

In other news, if you haven't had a chance yet, head on over and take a look at my new photography and post-production blog. There's only one post so far, detailing what I'm going to be including, but I've also asked for some feedback from you, particularly in terms of what you'd like me to include. So have a look at my first post and let me know what you think.

And finally, I have a few one-to-one training dates coming up – February 24th, May 17th and May 21st–24th. If you're interested, take a look at our events page and one-to-one training page for further details.

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6.00pm on 15/11/11
Canon 5D Mark II
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21 September, 2011 // midnight blue13 comments

This was taken on Blackpool beach, facing north towards Fleetwood, at around 9pm last Friday evening. We'd been down on the beach photographing this year's International Fireworks competition (which was a bit disappointing in comparison to some of the other display's I've seen in recent years) and then decided to hang around and do some night photography.

If you've already taken a look at the original you'll see that a) I used two images, and b) that the final version is quite different to both of them.

I did plan on shooting this as a single frame (the image on the left) but the sky in the upper-right section ended up being very bright and featureless. The reason for this is that the clouds were drifting across the sky during the two minute exposure (f/5.6, ISO 100). The other shot started out as a test image, taken to calculate the exposure time I'd need for the longer exposure. There are different ways to do this, but I typically shoot at f/2.8 and ISO 6400, and then work out the exposure from there. The benefit of doing this is that you can easily calculate the exposure you need, but you can also check the composition (often difficult when it's very dark).

So, the exposure for the test shot was 0.6s at f/2.8 and ISO 6400, which translates to 2 minutes at f/5.6 and ISO 100.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the sky looked better in the test shot, but the detail in the lower section was compromised through shooting at f/2.8 and ISO 6400, so I merged the two and then noise reduced the sky from the test shot. I also changed the white balance of both shots (to almost blue), tweaked the contrast, then added shifted the saturation and tone to produce a darker, colder shade.

Let me know if you think it was worth the effort.

Every year at the main Gulf Photo Plus training event we set aside one evening to go out as a group: all the instructors, Mohamed and Hala who run and organise the event, many of the other staff who are involved, the assistants, and so on. In past year's we've visited Ravi's (a fantastic Pakistani restaurant), another year we went to a fish restaurant, but this year we had a picnic on the beach, quite close to the Burj-al-Arab. There was plenty of great food even better company, and the opportunity to paddle in the Gulf.

I also decided to take some shots of the Burj-al-Arab and the reflections in the water. I took some shots from the beach but then moved onto a concrete structure running out into the sea. I'm not sure what it was for, but there was a huge pile of sand behind it, so I guess it's the start of some new project. Anyway, the paddling was fun, but the shots were less rewarding.

Here's a typical example ...

As you can see, it's nothing special. It's kind of nice to take the shot simply to record the fact that I was there, but it would have been much better if we'd been there at dusk when there would have still been some light in the sky. Anyway, the net result is an OK documentary shot, but nothing I would blog.

Fortunately though, I found something else to photograph ...

As many of you know, I like to photograph things that are easily overlooked – maybe small objects on the ground, obscure details, unusual objects – things that are there, but not immediately obvious. In this case, as you can probably imagine if you take a look at the shot below, I almost didn't spot this one, mostly because it was just so dark. This is the concrete structure I mentioned, lit by the Burj and other buildings in the distance, and it was so dark that it was almost impossible to compose the shot.

Once I had spotted though I was determined to get the shot, but it proved to be a bit difficult, mostly because I didn't have my remote release with me so could either shoot sub-30s exposures or hold the shutter button down for several minutes in bulb mode (which is never a good idea). Instead then I switched to ISO 800, f/8, and shot a range of 30s exposures. I was fairly sure I'd nailed it so wandered back to the group.

The more I looked at it though the more it looked like a bodged shot. It was fine on the LCD, but the depth of field was too shallow, there was a fair amount of noise, and I decided I needed to tweak the composition. So I went back and shot it again.

This time though I shot at ISO 400 (less noise) and switched to f/5.6 to compensate. This meant that the depth of field was now even more shallow, so to compensate I shot five exposures, each focussed on a different part of the structure. In the first the detail in the foreground is sharp, in the next the detail just beyond that, through to the final shot where the horizon is sharp. I then stacked and masked these images in Photoshop to create a combined version with a much larger depth of field.

After that it was just a simple matter of adding a few curves, taking the noise out of the sky, and boosting the saturation.

Motto of the story: there's nearly always a good shot you can take, you just need to pause long enough and look hard enough to find it.

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9.32pm on 10/3/11
Canon 5D Mark II
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22 November, 2010 // Starlight at Jabel Shams15 comments

Towards the end of my trip to Oman I travelled to Jabel Shams (or Jebel Shams or Jabal Shams, depending on which translation you trust) with my good friend Jason. Jabel Shams, or 'mountain of the sun' is part of the Al Hajar Mountain range, and is also the home of the second largest canyon in the world.

Anyway, before I tell you about this shot, here's a brief summary of our trip ...

We set off from Muscat, the capital of Oman, at around 4pm, expecting that a) our trip to Jabel Shams would take about three hours, and b) that it would be a relatively straightforward journey. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bit more complicated than we anticipated. The first problem we had was that we weren't entirely sure where we were going. We knew the area, but couldn't work out exactly where we needed to be, and each map we had showed a different set of GPS coordinates. Anyway, we worked out roughly where we needed to go and headed off. By 10pm, and with the assistance of various people who gave us directions, we'd managed to get to the base of the mountain and a sign that indicated that it was 37km to the top.

We set off up the road, which gradually became steeper and steeper, with turns that became increasingly tighter the further we ascended. At this point we were glad that it was dark as the drop from the side of the road was probably quite large :) Anyway, it was all going quite well, right up until the point that the road ran out and turned into a rocky track. At this point we'd only covered 15km but figured that we were probably still heading in the right direction so just needed to carry on ... just more slowly.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we carried on driving, tried not to think about what would happen if we drove or slipped over the edge, and kept our fingers crossed. After what seemed like ages we got to what we thought was the top and found a small building and a gate. The building was deserted, and the gate looked official, so we finally decided that we'd definitely gone wrong somewhere.

As we'd run out of any other viable options we called the 'resort', explained where we were, and they told us to wait for them to come and guide us to the camp. They also told us not to go through the gate as we'd be entering air force property and could be shot.

Half an hour later we reached the camp, pitched our tent, and started to cook our dinner. Jason had brought along a disposable BBQ, burgers, sausages, bacon and steaks; which would have resulted in a delicious meal if the BBQ hadn't gone out five minutes after it had been lit. We did manage to cook the burgers, but the rest of our feast was still raw.

At this point, having nothing better to do than sit there feeling hungry, we noticed that were sitting beneath one of the most fabulous skies we'd ever seen, peppered with thousands of stars. So, rather than go to bed hungry we decided we'd stay up and photograph them.

At this stage I should say that the shot I've posted isn't the one I thought I'd be posting - we were aiming to shoot star trails - but it didn't quite work out as planned.

The way I shoot star trails is as follows: turn the ISO up to 3200 (or thereabouts), set my aperture at f/2.8, then shoot in AV mode to determine the shutter speed. As it was a really dark night the shutter speed I needed was 15 seconds. The next step involves recalculating the shutter speed for ISO 100 and a smaller aperture. So to shoot at ISO 1600 would require a thirty second exposure, ISO 800, one minute, 400, two minutes, 200, four minutes, and eight minutes for ISO 100. By the same token, altering the aperture to f/4 increases the shutter speed to 16 minutes, while f/5.6 would require 32 minutes, and so on.

Anyway, the shot you see here is the test shot: ISO 3200 (i.e. noisy), f/2.8 (not very sharp). But I knew the exposure I needed so adjusted my camera to to shoot a 28 minute exposure. I then went through the whole process with Jason who then went on to produce this rather wonderful shot ...

http://www.escapism-online.com/blog-entry.php?pid=312

His set-up shot and summary of our adventure is here:

http://www.escapism-online.com/blog-entry.php?pid=311

Unfortunately, and I blame low blood sugar as a result of our earlier BBQ failure, while I changed the exposure time and aperture on my camera, I didn't change the ISO, so after standing around for 28 minutes I ended up with a massively over-exposed version of Jason's shot. Now I'm back home I wish I'd just shot it again, but it was already 3am and we were planning on getting up at 6am to walk around the canyon, so we went to bed instead. Fortunately, after a bit of tidying up and noise reduction, the test shot didn't turn out too badly. Sure, there's some movement of the stars, and the shot is a bit soft, but it does convey a reasonable sense of what it was like to be there :)

As always, let me know what you think.

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2.51am on 14/11/10
Canon 5D Mark II
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11 March, 2010 // light trails21 comments

It's not often that I'm a passenger in a car at night, but when I am I often sit there shooting out of the window, just playing around with the lights. 99 times out of a 100 I end up with pretty much what you'd expect – a blurry load of crap – but every once in a while I do get one that I like.

If you're interested, the original is here:

.../archives/light_trails.php

The post-production was mostly carried out in Camera Raw: I added some contrast and shifted the hue of some of the colours to broaden the colour palette.

On a different matter: if you didn't read my previous entry, I posted my initial thoughts on Topaz Detail, a plugin that does a great job of bringing out the detail in an image without introducing any obvious processing artefacts. If you haven't tried it I'd definitely suggest that you download the demo version and try it out.

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9.07pm on 27/2/10
Canon 5D Mark II
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7 March, 2010 // Jumeirah beach #212 comments

It's now Sunday, and I'm back in the UK for a week before heading back to Bulgaria. As always, Gulf Photo Plus was a lot of fun, not least because I got to meet up with some old friends from previous years, including: Bobbi Lane, Chris Hurtt, Robin Nichols, Joe McNally, Zack Arias, David Hobby, Mohamed Somji, and Hala Salhi. It was also a real pleasure to meet the new instructors at this year's event: Joey Lawrence, Vincent LaForet, Matt Kloskowski, Melissa Rodwell and Steve Simon.

If you're not familiar with the event, it's organised around a series of workshops. For example, Zack does a one-light workshop (amongst other things), I do a range of shooting and post-production sessions, Vincent did a week long session on using the 5D II to shoot video, and so on. There's also quite a lot of socialising, most notably at the Vista Bar on the roof of our hotel, and a range of other events, sessions, exhibitions, and so on.

One of the highlights of this year's event was a live shoot-out between Zack Arias, David Hobby and Joey Lawrence that took place during the closing ceremony. Each of them had 25 minutes to shoot and post-process a shot of two models, in front of an audience of several hundred photographers and students. David went first, and used about six "voice activated" light-stands (aka people with cameras and flash guns that were slaved to David's camera) to create a great, paparazzi style shot of the models. I don't think he's posted it online yet, but I'll link through when he does. Zack used three lights, and created an equally stunning shot. Joey, on the other hand, went for a slightly less sophisticated approach and shot a polaroid.

Update: David's take on the shoot-out is here:

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2010/03/speedlights-at-twenty-paces.html

Anyway, I'll tell you more about the event and everything else that went on later this week, but for now, here's another shot of the Jumeirah beach taken while I was out with Catalin Marin and Robin Nichols. The content is fairly similar to the previous one I posted, but I decided to process this one in a slightly different way. As always, let me know what you think.

Oh, and if you've been following my Facebook updates you'll know that ended up in the Emirates hospital on Friday evening, suffering from disturbingly painful stomach cramps. I'm still not quite sure what the problem was, but after taking a variety of tablets for a couple of days I now feel a whole lot better. At which point I should definitely thank Khaled for driving me to the hospital and Miriam for driving out there too to look after me.

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18.54pm on 27/2/10
Canon 5D Mark II
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28 February, 2010 // Jumeirah beach #124 comments

I arrived in Dubai on Friday morning, but didn't manage to get out shooting until yesterday afternoon. I took a trip to the Palm Jumeirah, with my good friends Catalin Marin and Robin Nichols, and while my pre-twilight shots aren't great, I'm pleased with at least three of the ones I shot after sunset. I'm not sure if I'll post all three: the post-production is quite different for each one, but they share much the same content. I'll see.

And if you're interested, the original (Camera Raw default version) is here:

.../archives/jumeirah_beach_1.php

And I would write more, but I have some work to do this afternoon, after which I'm heading off to the Mall of the Emirates to attend the opening night of the in the blink of an eye' exhibition (which features six of my beachcombing images). The other photographers who are exhibiting their work are Joe McNally, Joey L, Melissa Rodwell, Steve Simon and Zack Arias, so I'm definitely feeling honoured that I was asked to take part.

After that it will be time to hit the sack as my first GPP workshop kicks off bright and early at 8.00am ... and I'm so not a morning person ;) I am looking forward to it though :)

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18.58pm on 27/2/10
Canon 5D Mark II
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21 April, 2009 // drive time17 comments

I don't have too much to say about this one other than that it's one from about 100 shots I took while being a passenger in a variety of vehicles in Dubai. Of the 100, this is the only one worth posting, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

As always, let me know what you think.

On a different matter: I'm pleased to say that we've announced the winners of our Creative Point of View competition for our tutorial subscribers. If you're interested, there's some more info and the winning shots here:

http://www.chromasia.com/news/

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7.44pm on 14/1/09
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10 April, 2009 // Gotham city42 comments

This may well be my favourite shot from my trip to Dubai. It's the Burj Dubai, shot from Souk Al Bahar just after sunset. If you're interested, there's a slightly bigger version here:

.../archives/gotham_city.php

I'll be posting more shots from my trip over the coming weeks but, in the meanwhile, let me know what you think of this one.

Update: as a couple of people have asked, here's a link to the original image:

.../archives/gotham_city_original.php

Update #2: If you're interested, our Creative Workflow #2 tutorial is based around this image. Further info here:

.../tutorials/online/cw_info.php

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6.36pm on 28/3/09
Canon 1Ds Mark II
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8 May, 2008 // the gate #610 comments

I was going to post something other than a shot of the DIFC tonight, but this is one of only two that I have left so I thought I might as well post them now. Both were taken with my 15mm fisheye, but this is a) the more natural looking of the two, and b) my least favourite of the set.

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6.45pm on 22/4/08
Canon 1Ds Mark II
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28 April, 2008 // from on high33 comments

When I was younger I used to enjoy climbing – not in a north face of the Eiger sort of way, but I did enjoy it. The older I've got though, the more I really don't like heights, so struggled a bit with this one. It was taken from the helipad of the building I shot the Burj Dubai from, and what made it especially unnerving was that there were absolutely no safety measures: no guard rails, no netting, just a long drop down.

Anyway, I was perfectly safe, and didn't get within five feet of the edge, but my knees were feeling decidedly rubbery by the time I'd composed the shot and taken the three images I used for the HDR. And if you're interested, the building on the right of this image is the one that was on the left of my shot of the Burj Dubai; i.e. this one was taken about 90° to the left.

The shot I'm going to put up tomorrow, while nowhere near as dramatic, is probably one of my favourite HDRs in recent months. It was also taken from much nearer the ground :-)

25 April, 2008 // roosting cranes28 comments

This one was taken from the same building as yesterday's, but from the 24th floor rather than the 34th, and the angle of view is about 90° to the right. Personally, I prefer yesterday's, but I thought I'd post this one too. I also have one, shot from a bit higher up the building, but I'm going to post that one on Monday.

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8.57pm on 24/4/08
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2x1
24 April, 2008 // Burj Dubai46 comments

The tall building you can see in the distance is the Burj Dubai, which earlier this month became the world's tallest structure at 629m – a shade over two thousand feet. When it's finished it's expected to exceed 700m and have over 160 floors. To put that in perspective, this shot was taken from round about the 34th floor of an apartment building; i.e. the Burj Dubai will eventually be around five times higher than this vantage point. When it's finished I'd really like to take a shot from the top :-)

I took two more shots from this building that I like, one of which I'll post tomorrow, the other of which will go up on Monday.

Oh, and many thanks for all the great comments on yesterday's image – they were much appreciated.

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9.13pm on 23/4/08
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