So, I’m sharing this 2nd photo of Brisbane on my blog today as I also went ahead and edited this shot from a sunset shoot on the Brisbane River from a couple of days ago. I rode my bike in with my camera gear on my back, I believe it was friday afternoon because Southbank was full of people for Buddha birth day celebrations, that’s on the left side of this image. I surprised myself at how far I could ride as I hadn’t been riding in about 1-2 months. Damn it was nice riding by the river though on the cycling track, perfect weather for it !

Anyways, I did my usual detective work heading to different areas around this location trying to find a composition that works. What I do is take snapshots with D800 at each location and I’m focusing on 2 main things:

  • where the sun will set in within my view finder
  • and then where that will be on the composition I compose.

I have an app on my phone which uses the accelerometer inside it and by physically waving the screen around in the sky I can find the exact location of the setting sun from my vantage point. Anyways after I’ve got quite a few ‘snapshots’ I find a nice place to sit and I go through them all and decide which one I like the most. Then its a matter of heading to that location and waiting for the magic to happen. I like to listen to my favourite music or radio station (usually “The Dr.” is on JJJ around this time) and then just enjoy the light show.

That’s one of the great things about being a photographer, getting to watch these amazing sunsets and sunrises and I love sharing them with you all. 

This particular one I was focusing on a few things-

  • obviously the citycat (the ferry) was part of my main focus,
  • the sun’s position and elevation in the sky which I used rule of thirds and placed the sun on left third of the frame.
  • and I was also aware of the intense golden reflection of the sun in the skyscrapers of the Brisbane city CBD on the right of the image. Some of the buildings really did turn out like they are made from gold, the incas would be proud ! haha

I liked this set of bracketed images the most and produced them into a golden HDR. See below for the software I used. 

Software Used:

Photomatix PRO – Is a MAC and PC HDR software for creating stunning HDR images. They have a free trial, but if you end up buying a copy of Photomatix you can get a 15% Discount with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography

– On1 Perfect Effects  An amazing Filter program to stylise the image. a standalone Filter program which can also be launched from Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture

Imagenomic’s Noiseware 5– discount code “LukeZemePhotography” for a 10% discount.

Image Location:

View HDR print “Golden City” by Artist Luke Zeme in a larger map

Post Processing:

This info is for other photographers who looking to expand their skills and use of photography software. This is a 5 bracket HDR image and I shot it on a tripod using a Nikon D800 in Aperture priority mode. 

  • The image below shows how you can Layer different filters in On1 Perfect Effects ! You can see over on the right hand side all the various Filters I was using and how you can apply masks to each layer. I have the Bug tool selected on the current layer and its awesome for skies and other long horizontal blocks like rivers or lakes.

Using Perfect Effects 4

My methods for each image vary a lot and it depends on what I’m trying to achieve as to which software I use. It’s kind of like deciding if I want to use charcoal or watercolours today and what time of the day I want to paint. Most of the time it’s a matter of turning up some good music and letting my creative side take over and seeing what I come up with. I’ve always been like that with my art and use the skills I’ve already learnt in an intuitive way. My advice to others out there is that “you just have to keep practicing and practicing and eventually you will start to produce work you are proud of” and I think once you reach that stage others will start to appreciate your work too. I am my own biggest critic I think, haha.

The programs I listed above have such a variety and it’s fun to use them so check a few of them out using the links I provided.


Cheers, Luke

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