Peak Design Kickstarter is ending soon

If you want one of the new Peak Design backpacks, not it the last chance to get them cheaper from their Kickstarter campaign. Only 32 hours left before it ends. And since it’s Peak Design, I don’t think you have to worry they would not deliver, as they did always before and on time :)
Peak design Kickstarter is ending soon

Long exposure reflection in Astana

While walking around the city of Astana at 5 in the morning, I came across this amfiteatre (that’s what I think it is). And while it was still partially a construction site, the view from the walkway was worth a shot. It was still quite dark, so I was guessing a bit on the composition, but I did get it nice and centered in the end.

This is a blend of three exposures. Most is from a single shot, but I used others to darken the highlights a bit. Edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Long exposure reflection in Astana

Sphere building in orange

Yes, I know it’s another photo of the Expo 2017 sphere building in Astana, Kazakhstan. I just took so many of them. I took shots from every view I could get, and they are all blue hour. And if you wonder why, it’s because of a strong rain.

When I arrived to the sphere building, it was not raining, but it was already grey and overcast. So I took few photos and waited. And withing few minutes I had to hide. Even so I got soaked quite a bit. Btw. one thing I always do when I travel, almost regardless where I go and what time of the year it is. I carry a thin jacket against wind and rain. I used it in Italy, I used it in Dubai and I used it in Astana. Always comes in handy.

This is a single shot, edited in Lightroom and Photoshop. I also used a part of a second shot just to get rid of a lens flare. You can see how it’s done here.

Sphere building in orange, Astana, Kazakhstan

HDR panoramas

While combining single exposures to panoramas in Lightroom is very easy, it does not work with multiexposure ones. There is just no setting in Lightroom to tell it to blend all in the same way. But programs like PTgui and Autopano can do it, and you can see my guide for PTgui here, and Autompano here.

City center enter of Astana

And back to Astana :) This is a view from quite high up of the center park of Astana. There are actually quite a few parks around the center, which makes the city look really nice. I took a lot of panoramas of this view, but I wanted also one done verticaly.

And this is the one. If you look closely, the part of a roof you can see in the bottom left, is a lower part of the building I was standing on. Actually I wanted a shot where you could see the walls of the building, but it just too distorted in the end, so I let it be. Btw. the cloudy sky is from it raining just minutes before I took this photo.

This is a three shot vertorama, each shot from three exposures. Combined in PTgui, blended in Photoshop.

City center enter of Astana, Kazakhstan

Not sleeping at night

While I was in Astana, Kazakhstan, I decided to change a bit my sleeping time. Since the time difference was 4 hours anyway, I decided not to sleep during the night, but instead, do it differently. I would take photo in the evening, do quick edits during the night, and then go out to take photos in the morning. Only afterwards would I go to sleep.

And with the time difference, this was not even that strange. It was like going to bed around 3am, which is not really that strange for me. Have you ever tried something like this while you traveled?

Very early morning reflection

And this is one of the photos taken before sunrise. Really nice to have a place just for oneself. Too bad that the decorative light were not in the morning. I actually mention that as one of the reasons not to take photos in the morning, in my article ‘Why shoot in the early morning’ here. But of course there are more reasons to do so :)

This is a two shot blend, done in Photoshop. I used the 12mm Laowa lens to get as much of the reflection as I could, as the puddle was quite close to the bridge.

Very early morning reflection, Astana, Kazakhstan

Aurora HDR 2019 pre-orders open

Over the last few years Aurora HDR has become one of the most used HDR tone-mapping software. And just today, Skylum (former Macphun) have announced the new version, Aurora HDR 2019 and opened the pre-orders for a discounted price. The full release is on the 4th of October.

Aurora HDR 2019 pre-orders open

The biggest change for this version is the new Quantum HDR engine that should use AI to make the results better. There is also now support for LUTs and a new Smart structure. I already do have a test copy of the new version, but yet not had enough time to fully try it out. There really are a lot of functions there, so that will take a bit of time anyway.

Aurora HDR 2019 pre-orders open

For now my first impression is, that it still is a great and quite easy way to get into HDR photos, without having to rely on working with more advanced software like Photoshop.

I will be testing it more, and will share with you my thought over the next week. For now, feel free to visit the Skylum site for more information.

(screenshots courtesy of Skylum software)

Golden towers

I wanted to go a bit further back here, to get the whole towers in the shot, but I could not. Still, the 12mm Laowa lens captured them almost completely in one photo. There two golden towers are right in the center of Astana and what I know are office building. You could have actually seen them in one of my recent update, to be exact in this photo. They look quite golden and shiny during the day, but at night, with the blue sky reflecting, they look a bit more green, like here.

This is a three shot blend. I had to mostly just correct the very strong light of the Bayterek monument in the middle and a bit of the other yellow light on the buildings. Edited in Lightroom, finished in Photoshop.

Golden towers, Astana, Kazakhstan
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