I've always enjoyed looking at landscape pictures over the internet, drool over them you might say. And the 'breaking point' was during the New Year celebrations where tons of beautiful firework pictures were posted all over the internet...but one picture really caught my eye.
That's when I knew I had to get a tripod and start looking into landscape photography. So I went over to gstrapinuse's shop in Millenium Square and bought myself a Beike Pro 471 tripod. The initial intention was just to grab the tripod and go home but "unfortunately" he had a 60x60 softbox in stock and also gave me a good price I got both together. So, I thought ahhhhhhh might as well get both and be done with it (I was also eyeing a softbox for quite some time now).
Here's the link to the tripod sales page: http://www.gstrapinuse.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=34_7&products_id=498&zenid=f0ecf1765a3709e4b6cc7879a0762b0b
It's a good sturdy tripod. The legs are by no means skinny, they are pretty big, strong and well built. Could be mistaken for a really pro tripod actually.
The ballhead on the other hand isn't that great actually, having some minor hiccups here and there. First thing, the metal plate doesn't quite secure well to the camera. Second, the tripod knobs aren't that comfy to tighten and loosen. There isn't much grip and the size of the knob being small doesn't really help much either. After a while of constant operation, my hands got sore and painful.
Anyway, just right after I got my tripod I went with my friend to Ampang Look Out point because I hear the view here of the city is pretty good. And the reviews were right! The view is magnificent!
We were actually fortunate to get that somewhere around 6 something as we went the wrong way!
So here's the shot. Took 3 exposures and merged in Photomatix Pro.
There were several good spots but the one I find best is in the Panorama restaurant. It's the highest point in Ampang Lookout Point which provides good composition. The other places I find a bit flat and there were some distractions from the trees/plants.
I decided to go HDR all out for the sunset shots since the sky was still bright and had good details. HDR is to get as much dynamic range of the foreground and background without having the sky being overexposed if one is metering the foreground for example.
Faced several challenges through out the shoot. Some of them were
1) Distractions of the trees(notice the picture above) which obviously could not be avoided at all. If I were to opt for a different composition, I would not have been able to get the same composition
2) Tripod ball head not steady (highlighted above already)
3) Misty/Hazy conditions <---- Can't be helped! Yes, the misty/hazy conditions didn't help at all. Lots of details were lost in the middle of the frame and in the background. Colours were a bit fuzzy as well.
Too bad I went at the wrong time. Better luck next time I guess?
Anyway, it was a good learning experience. It's not possible to obtain good results overnight so I'll try to learn a lot more about landscape shooting and try to attend talks/workshops whenever I can.