Saturday, January 10, 2015

Journey to the Old and Ultra Modern Shanghai

Coming back home from Brisbane, Australia for the summer holidays, my parents gave me the option of whether to follow them to Shanghai, China the next month for a holiday. Opportunities like this does not come very often and one does not turn down such offers. My experience from traveling overseas when I was younger was a lot different from now as I see things very differently after discovering my passion for photography.

I couldn't really remember much about Shanghai when I traveled with my dad there about 7-8 years ago. Didn't even own a camera back then and yes, I was your regular layman. Only remembered that we stayed at Nanjing road and didn't really visit many places.

We stayed at Nanjing road again because it's right at the heart of Shanghai and the entire road is a pedestrian street, filled with shopping complexes, tons of eateries, hotels, cultural sites.


There are a lot lovely side streets all over Shanghai. You get a lot of people selling souvenirs and street snacks like the chow tou fu (smelly toufu).

There was a street my dad brought us to, which I can't remember the name already, also featuring old heritage buildings. Full of culture. The scene below piqued my interest because of the interesting warm glow of the sky against the leaves of the trees. As you can see from the picture, there are actually a lot of pedestrian friendly pavements for people to explore the city...unlike KL lol.

This scene below was very interesting because it exudes a very warm and rustic feeling. Shooting from eye level does not seem to bring much impact so I had to frame the scene at a very low angle using my Sony A6000 flippy screen (Thank God for this awesome feature!) Without it I doubt I would be able to get the shot I imagined in my mind.

Sometimes, it's best not to just shoot at eye level, which most layperson actually tend to do. Going low or high may give the much needed depth to your subject. Play around with angles =)

My dad brought us to a place called Qibao which is a small village. It has narrow streets, full of colour and warmth. I have to admit that I am beginning to enjoy and appreciate these kind of places =)

Not forgetting the tons of food you can get here. I absolutely love the strawberry with glazed sugar. The glazed sugar is crunchy when you bite into it and after that you'll get a burst of juice from the strawberry. Really good stuff!

Chow Tau Fu everywhere! My mum hates the smell but I still find them bearable. I wanted to try them actually but as you know, street food are generally very unhygienic and you don't know what sort of oil they're using, especially dangerous if they're using gutter oil....yuck! I didn't want to risk getting food poisoning and jeopardizing my entire holiday. I actually did eat the non street version at a local restaurant and it wasn't that bad actually.

The next day, it was mostly free and easy for me after lunch with my dad's cousins. I wanted to go to the Bund to take a picture of the Pudong skyline. Golden hour is actually one of the best times to capture a beautiful landscape, just ask any landscape photographer. Hopefully there would be a colourful sky as well but when I got there it wasn't that exciting actually. The lights were not fully lit up so I waited till it was darker until all the lights were up.

When I was scouting at the Bund for the best spot, I noticed that shooting right from the edge of the sightseeing bridge would probably only produce a generic shot, shot by thousands of people already. If you're shooting the scene this way, you'll almost likely to take half the buildings and half the reflections in your frame. The river current was fast, meaning the reflections of the buildings on the water wasn't that detailed and it was more blurry than what you expected. I decided to move back a bit, noticing that there's a higher platform behind me, I moved there and took this shot. IMHO, taking a great picture of the Pudong Skyline requires a much higher angle to yield a better looking shot, of course at the same time to eliminate distortion and slanting buildings.

I purposely framed the shot in this way to provide a much more interesting foreground interest, which complements the beautiful and majestic skyline in the background. For this shot, I took 5 exposures, that is -2, -1, 0, +0.7 and +1.3 and blend them together using HDR Efex Pro and added some colour enhancements via Color Efex Pro. The output is then noise reduced using NoisewarePro before getting the final result.

 In the pictures below, we went to a place called Yu Yuen, which is just a few stops from where we're living. The metro system in Shanghai is pretty large, extensive and convenient to use. Yu Yuen is kinda similar to Qibao, just that it has more lakes, gardens and more eye candy goodies.

And we went back to Nanjing road again, this time was walking around at night. It's actually a lot more beautiful at night compared to day time because of all the lights. For the two pictures below, I tried to use the tree branches, which I think is very nice :P , to frame the picture. The autumn yellow leaves are just so nice!

We went up to the Pearl Tower during our second last day at Shanghai, I didn't manage to get any good shots because of the terrible reflections and the lack of an ultra wide angle lens. This is why a lot of people hate shooting through glass!! It would help a lot if I were to have a CPL filter and a UWA :D

I really must love leaves a lot huh! :P

Going down to the lower levels, I managed to find a spot where there's no glass and hence I got the 2 shots below:

So yeah, that's the end of the pictures. I certainly didn't expect myself to like Shanghai after this trip as I didn't really have anything memorable from my trip many years back. Kinda shows how much photography can positively influence your point of view and taste.

Really looking forward for my trip back to Brisbane in about close to 2 months time, this time I'll buy a new tripod which is much lighter than the one I currently have and promise myself to snap a lot of pictures of the city before I'm back in Malaysia for good.

Oh btw, the gears used for all the pictures posted are the Sony A6000 with the 16-50 kit lens. Kitty lens powaaahhhh!!

And there's the SEL 35 f/1.4 but I hardly used it =(

For the entire picture collection please visit my flickr!:

Or view my 500px:


1 comment: