This angle was in my list from quite some time ago, it is taken slighter behind from the usual tourist spot, there’s a junction for some good light trail photo with Kuala Lumpur Twin Tower in the background. The weather was kinda hazy during the shoot, but since I am very close to my subject (Twin Tower) and aiming for the night scene, the effect of the haze are minimum.
During the shoot I try several different composition moving from one side to another side of the junction, the first few composition was good in overall, but the light trail appear much smaller and less impact when I shoot from the roadside, I move to another side, the result still unsatisfied. End up I decide to shoot on the road divider which placing myself at the middle of the road. (I am glad the divider was wide enough for me to sit on it and remain safe, assuming someone not drunk enough to crush on it, lol).
Settle down my composition, I experience with several choices of shutter speed start from 20 seconds to 5 seconds. Apparently, 20 seconds provided much ideal result but with slightly over expose on a part of the light trails, which later I can fix it just using another -2 exposure in post processing later. I also notice that not every light trail appear to be linear, some appear like sparks which I think caused by the motorbikes, this going to cause me a lot of times in fixing it later.
16 mm focal length,
Base photo: ISO-50. f18 aperture at 20 seconds shutters speed.
Recovery highlight: ISO-50. f18 aperture at 5 seconds shutters speed.
Loaded in photoshop, the first thing I start is to recover all the highlights. Next using the clone stamp tool, I remove all the dust and the flare, and with the same technique, I zoom the photos at 100% and carefully clone out all those sparks one by one, which took me around 4 hours just for that, it is a very tedious process.
During the shooting, I always ensure that horizontal are align correctly, however sometime it will be slightly off, but with skew tool, I able to fix this easily.
Next I start with the artistic process, I want the overall photo to appear in a blue color tone which result in a more futuristic look of the Twin Tower, and having the orange/red color light trail at the bottom, this will creating an interesting conflict of cold/warm colors. To do so, I first start with adjusting the white balance toward blue and having another warm color balance layer together with a gradient mask so that the warm color only remain at the bottom, at the same time the gradient mask also giving a nature soft transition. Then with luminosity masking, I making several adjustment which allow the overall twin tower to appear much brighter while maintaining the contrast on the dark tone. Lastly before sharpening, I adding a soft vignette for the viewer more focus on the Twin Tower and Light Trail.
Here is the before after comparison. 🙂
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