PHOTO OF THE DAY- “Two Sides of Paradise” Gold Coast

I recently took my tent, sleeping bag and car down to Byron Bay and slowly made my way back up the coast to Brisbane. After 4 nights in my tent I was craving some creature comforts, like a clean shower and soft bed, so I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone by booking a room in a nice Hotel with a view of the Surfers Paradise Skyline. The good thing about booking accommodations the day you need them is that you can find lots of great specials. This particular Hotel was the Crowne Plaza and I was able to get a room on the 20th floor. I talked with the staff before settling on a room so that I got the most cost effective suite with the view of Surfers Paradise I wanted. Initially I was placed on the east side of the building which looked off to the right of this photo and I had to hang off the balcony and look left to see the CBD. I was essentially parallel with the ocean coastline but what I was there for was the Northern View of the city CBD, so I called up the concierge and they sent up a bell hop with a key and a helping hand with my bags to move to the Northern side of the building. We dropped down a level or 2 but it was all about the CBD for me and Im super glad I changed because I shot for like 2-3 hours off the balcony that evening. *Not really the rest I was hoping for ! haha but I love doing photography so I can’t complain 🙂 I also remember when I got settled and had a lie down Gilligan’s Island was on TV and I was actually so tired I watched it !

I’ve wanted to shoot the Gold Coast like this before, and indeed I still see lots more vantage points from looking at this image where I could take great images of the Surfer’s Paradise city from. I’d love to do some roof top shots closer in to the city centre looking down into the streets, maybe near the two Hilton buildings would be fantastic !!! They can be seen in this image just to the left of the tallest building in this image, which is Q1 and actually used to be the highest residential building in the world at 322m. Because many of the buildings are residential there is no public access into them or to the higher levels so it makes it really difficult and one of the main reasons I hired a room to take these shots.

Using a wide angle lens, Nikkor 14-24mm, Im able to capture 114 ° view of Surfer’s Paradise encompassing the fading warm light of the sunset off to the left, the bright lights of the Gold Coast Freeway flowing in and out of the Surfer’s Paradise CBD, along with some of the beach front apartments on the left. The sunrise is fading as night drops over Surfer’s Paradise Australia. This shot is titled “Two sides of Paradise” and was shot on my Nikon D800. There are many water inlets like the one seen on the left of this image and the houses have personal river access and can moore their yachts right out the front of their property. Also pictured is the Gold Coast Freeway flowing in and out of the Surfers Paradise CBD.

Photomatix PRO – Is a MAC and PC HDR software for creating stunning HDR images. They have a free trial so you can go to this link and download and play with the complete software package. If you end up buying a copy of Photomatix you can get a 15% Discount with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography

– Adobe Photoshop CS6-  used to layer and mask, plus much much more

– On1 Photo  the complete collection of photo editing software from OnOne

-NIK Collection

Image Location:

View HDR “Two Sides of Paradise” © Luke Zeme 2013 in a larger map

Editing Info for Photographers:

The first step in the process of editing this photo was to use Photomatix tonemapping. I then take the 5 original bracketed source images into Adobe Photoshop. I then masked in, using the Perfect Brush, small sections from these Filters from On1 Perfect Effects These are the filters I used in Perfect Effects- Magic Ocean, Tonal Contrast, Big Softy and Amazing Detail. A good tip is to just use various opacity levels from each Filter, never the whole Filter and never over the whole image. I finalise the image by removing noise from areas using the ultra powerful DeNoise from Topaz. Which does as the name suggests 😉 it can remove an incredible amount of noise!


So creating this image was really a combination of 3 great software! which is often the case to creating HDR images.


Cheers, Luke

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